How big is big?

hi folks

i had a biopsy last week and was told today that my lymph node biopsy showed cancer, don’t have results for my breast lump biopsy yet. will get that tomorrow. am whirling around, can’t seem to settle. i’m worried about the size of my lump - 2cm - is this relatively big or small?

i don’t have info on stage/grade or type or anything yet, but am worried that i missed it for a while because i haven’t been checking my breasts. i know i shouldn’t feel guilty, can one feel guilty for feeling guilty?

anyway, any info on relative sizing would be useful.

judes x


my tumour was just under
2cm and is still classed as early breast cancer. my stage was 1c, did not have chemo as nodes were clear but had surgery and rads. have been on tamoifen and now on exsemastane ,i have just past my 4 year marker with NED , i think you will hear most people say the waiting room is a horrible time…

best wishes & hugs

Hi again Jude,
Size is only one factor in the assessment of treatment - my tumour was considerably larger than 2 cm but was still ‘early’ and still ‘primary’ and was treated with ‘curative’ intent.

Try not to worry too much about the size - 2cm is still quite small (if you look at the staging information in the BCC leaflets or on MacMillan/Cancer Research UK you can find more information on that)

In my case my surgeon was very clear that the location of my tumour was more significant than its size in determining the appropriate kind of surgery.

Try not to worry too much, I know the waiting is horrid, but you will soon know what the plan is and will feel more in control again.

gentle hug

helo judes mine was 2.4 and grade 2 … my oncologist said mine was small and caught very early … i had 2 lumpectomys and 17 radiotherapys and i am on exemestaine… no chemo and no node involvement … good luck for tomorow … angie xx

Hi Judes

Think it varies a bit depending on the type of cancer. Mine was lobular (which is a bit rarer, accounting for 15-20% of breast cancers) and these are often a soft mass, rather than a hard lump, and are also more difficult to pick up on mammogram - so they are often quite big when found. Mine was 5.5cm x 2.7cm!

Don’t beat yourself up about not finding it sooner - you can end up saying ‘what if?’ forever. What’s important is that you did find it and you are now going to get treated. Once your plan is in place, you will know what you are facing and will hopefully feel a bit calmer.

Take care

Hi Judes

Sorry you are here but welcome. As has been said its not just about the size but mine was just over 2cm on removal, i had lumpectomy and was told it was caught early. I had no lymph node involvement but it was grade 3 so quite aggressive which pushes me into chemo.

The waiting to find out the whole picture can be scary, ((hug)) for you and hope you find out more soon xx

Mine was 3.1cm which the surgeon initially described as large but the nurse corrected him and said it was medium. Oh, yes, he said quickly, medium. Looking back, that exchange meant that size isn’t that important - especially when you take different builds into account. 3cm might be large for someone under 5ft but not for someone hitting 6ft. Position and grade is more important. My operation was four years ago and I’ve had no sign of recurrence, if that’s any help…

Hi Judes

Welcome although I am sorry you have had to join us here, I received a positive diagnosis for my breast lump and a lymph node lump on 5 Sept and have my op on Friday (30th).

I don’t know the size and grade of my lumps mainly because at the time I had the opportunity to ask I decided not to!!

But I did ask the surgeon if he had any concerns about the lumps and the operation and he said no because they are both in early stage, so I was happy to agree to the WLE and ANC.

Big hug for you (((((HUG)))))


Mine was 2.4 cm and described as small. Grade 2 and no node involvement but I have decided to go for chemo, starting on Friday. Size definitely isn’t everything so don’t get hung up on it. Good luck for tomorrow hunny.


Mine was grade 2 and 3cm, I was told that in relation to the size of my breast this was small, they said that the ratio was important as someone with smaller breasts may have been treated differently, I had a WLE and SNB and thankfully my nodes were clear


mine was 5 cm grade 3 triple neg and at the time in a small breast x

Mine were 6cm, 2cm and 2cm (multifocal 3 tumours grade 2) but I did have very large breasts, I was told that it is relative, eg having these large tumours in a large breast wasnt any more sinister than having one medium sized tumour in a small breast, so dont worry too much about size, other than a very large tumour size might mean a mastectomy may be more advisable than a lumpectomy in a smaller breast


2cm and under is referred to by our surgeons as very small or even tiny.

but in terms of size its often in relation to breast size.

you’re all lovely, thanks


Size isn’t always a factor. I had dcis 4.5cm (non invasive cancer) and 1 3mm and 2 x 1 mm invasive tumours so very small and grade 2. But because my cancer is her2positive an aggressive type of cancer I have been told to have chemo and a drug called herceptin, as well as three lots of surgery (luckily clear nodes) radiotherapy and tamoxifen!

Good luck with your treatment, we are here to help.

Hugs SGL xx

slowly i’m getting the full picture. found out today i have grade 3 ductal BC, spread to lymph nodes. i need to have various scans before surgery to see whether its spread elsewhere. i have private health insurance so am going to have a PET scan rather than three separate scans on the NHS.

apparently it’s oestrogen sensitive, and this is the one bit of good news?

unless they find secondaries i’ll have the lump out and lymph nodes out (all the ones they can find, she said) and then chemo and radiation.

anyone have a similar presentation?


Hi again Jude, it’s a lot to take in, isn’t it.

If you read my profile (click on my name) you will see quite a lot of similarities as well as some differences.

Being ER+ (hormone recpetive) is generally seen as a ‘good thing’ and some consultants even say that if you have to have breast cancer, this is the ‘best’ (or least bad) kind to have.

Waiting to get your scan results will probably be horrid - for me it was the most terrifying part and my brain imagined all sorts of sticky ends to which I would come very quickly. A little over a year later, I am all treated and doing well.

I really hope your scan is clear, so you can get going on your treatment and move on with ‘curative intent’. Remember that treatments are really good and the success rates are very high.

Take care and a hug for tonight (if you don’t need it, save for another day when you do!)

Hi Jude

Whatever you do, do not think that it is your fault that you did not pick it up earlier, 2cm is not huge, I have quite large breast(s) and so I had a lumpectomy (WLE) to remove the 6cm+ lump which a mamo did not pick up in July 2010 but I found when my nipple inverted in Oct 2010.

I had 12 nodes removed, 6 were cancerous and 2 had spread, I’m ER+, grade 2, stage 3 ductal, had chemo and radiotherapy and now 5 years on Tamoxifen. My CT and bone scans did not show up secondaries, and the reason why they say ER+ is good is because they can give you hormone treatment (Tam) as well as chemo and rads.

Good luck with the scans and fingers crossed that you have no secondaries, its a tough journey and I am just on the other side, you do get through it and all the lovely ladies on here will support you as you work your way through, PM me if you would like to chat

DaisyGirl xx

Hi Jude- as you will have gathered the actual size of the tumour is not necessarily significant.

I have small breasts but my tumour was 2:4, had spread to the lymph glands and was Grade 3 -even though it couldn’t be felt & was only detected by mammogram.

I was 'lucky ’ in that I only had a lumpectomy plus chemo and rads and am now 3 years on and feeling very well. Good luck with your treatment - this is the hardest time- it gets better once treatment starts and you can look forward to it being over!

Hi Judes,

I had a 2.7cm lump, grade 3, in 3/16 lymph nodes, ER+, and herceptin positive. I had mx, chemo, rads, herceptin, been on tamoxifen for 4 year so far. I am 4.5 yrs on from dx and well.