Is an 8mm lump big

I am 59 and was recalled after a routine mammogram as a lump was seen in my left breast. I had a more detailed mammogram and then went in to see the consultant who said he thought it was a cyst so he would do an ultrasound to confirm that. Unfortunately he said it isn’t a cyst so I am assuming it must be cancer. He did a biopsy and I have to wait a week for the result. I wanted to discuss treatment but he refused as he said he didn’t know it was definitely cancer and it could be something else but when I asked what else it could be he was very evasive and said there were too many things to list. I obviously do have cancer but he didn’t want to say. He said the lump was 8mm and “minute” but that seems to be classed as big when I’ve googled it. I’m confused and upset and terrified.


Hi @chrisk

So sorry that you are in this situation and how you are feeling is totally understandable and we have all been there . It’s easy to lose trust in your medical team if you feel they are hiding something from you but I don’t think that is the case here .

Unfortunately you are now playing the game we all hate the most which is the waiting game - your Dr. is right as there are benign breast conditions that it could be and he would not want to or be able to discuss treatment with you until the biopsy results come back. If it is cancer the treatment may differ depending on the type ,and if it’s benign it might need some treatment or none at all. And there are indeed a lot of benign breast conditions. Some lumps have a suspicious enough appearance on mammogram or scan ( don’t ask me how they can tell) that they may be prepared to give a provisional diagnosis which they did for me but as they initially thought yours was a cyst it can’t be that obvious. He also guessed incorrectly once which I think has added to your stress, he certainly isn’t going to say anything more without a concrete result - and nor should he .

I know it’s tempting to Google but it isn’t your friend right now and the information you get from it can be inaccurate for instance 8 mm is very small - I can be confident about that not only because I know many others who have had much larger lumps but because mine was also 8 mm .

If the worst comes to the worst then breast cancer is a very common cancer , there’s a ton of research that has been done and is ongoing . Treatments/ outcomes and survival rates are much better than 20 or 30 years ago . Also it very much sounds like yours like mine would have been caught early . When I was diagnosed I was not grateful for these things but I am now.

Until you get your results keep yourself busy try to do things you enjoy take a day at a time and talk to a good friend ( though not everyone you know ) . Write down the things you you want to ask and take them with you when you get your results. You could try ringing the helpline in the morning to talk it through with the Nurse but otherwise I would not look through the threads on here and against off Google .

Come back and let us know how it went either way and we will be here for you if you need us xx


Hi Chris K

Please try not to panic. 8mm certainly is not big; it’s less than a centimetre. (Mine were 11mm and 21mm, and I considered those to be reassuringly small.)
And it’s true, our breasts are remarkably capable of harbouring all sorts of troublesome but minor conditions.
All doctors err on the side of caution until they have the results in their hands. Of course they don’t want to confirm anything and worry the patient if they then turn out to be wrong. (Clearly this has not worked for you !) Of course you’re terrified. It is a stage most of us unfortunately go through. But then there’s the stage of at least the uncertainty being behind you. IF you do have something to deal with, you will find that further information and a plan will help you put one foot in front of the other and get through whatever you have to.
In the meantime, if you need to panic, this forum is a good place to seek sympathy and a sounding board.


Sorry to hear that you are going through this. The waiting is awful.

The lump that I was called back for turned out to be a fibroadenoma - a benign breast condition. They found the cancer with the more intense imaging to investigate the lump.

It’s easy for me to say but try not to worry there are many other conditions that it could be. The biopsy will confirm either way.


Hi @chrisk as the other ladies have said, 8mm is considered small. I was also called back after a routine mammogram and when it came to taking the biopsy, the radiologist was muttering under her breath trying to find my 9mm lump as it was too small to see clearly on the ultrasound. After surgery it was classified as 14mm due to a small integral DCIS but even then it was considered small. The categorization for staging used throughout oncology worldwide puts any lump under 20mm (2 centimeters) as Stage 1 so definitely considered small. So no worries on that score. Government statistics show that only 32% of women who have biopsies in their 50s have BC so 2 out of every 3 don’t, which are good odds. You don’t have breast cancer until they tell you that you have breast cancer and if they do, at that point you’ll be given a path forward in how to get rid of it. We all feel better at that point. Let us know how you get on.


I think I just thought I was getting my life organised. I’d applied for partial retirement at work and one of my sons has a 12 week old son and my other son has a baby due at the end of September. I was going to help them both with childcare. Now I’m just hoping I am still here to do that. If this is an aggressive cancer I don’t know how much time I will have.

You walk past breast cancer survivors every day in the street without knowing it . I started swimming in 2020 with three other women and only when I was diagnosed by which time we had become good friends did I realize that one of them had had breast cancer and has been clear ten years plus now . We then started occasionally meeting another group of women to swim with and though she didn’t tell me herself I was told that one of them had had a mastectomy many years ago. I went back to work after seven months off sick which would have been less but my sickness was prolonged due to other medical and family problems . I work with two women who have been successfully treated for breast cancer and another woman who was successfully treated for ovarian cancer twelve years ago now . You only hear about the worst cases in day to day life because the rest of us don’t want to be defined by it and though we talk on here we often don’t talk about it in real life . The places we go in our imaginations are almost always worse than the reality of it.

I know it’s hard but try to do something nice with your weekend - if it turns out that you don’t have cancer all this will be over for you very soon and if you do have it then I have found that having little moments of joy is very helpful in times of stress . Try to just take it a day at a time .

With love xx


@chrisk I am 68, was diagnosed at 66, and think that those of us around our 60s and 70s were brought up to think of cancer as ‘The Big C’, a virtual death sentence. Believe me when I say breast cancer is no longer perceived in that way. For a start, as the breasts are not organs, a primary BC diagnosis is not going to kill you. For full disclosure, what can lead to fatality is a metastatic spread to an organ or the bones. Even then, many women who have secondary cancers, can live for years due to the amazing advances in treatments, such that many consider their cancer to be chronic - that is a long term treatable condition. But, dear Chris, you are a LONG way from that. You have a small primary tumour, the histology of which you don’t yet know, but whatever it turns out to be, it will be treatable. At my biopsy, the 9mm blob was biopsied and I told the radiologist that my mother had had a blocked milk duct so it’s probably that. No, she replied, it IS cancer but this biopsy will tell us what kind. But I guarantee you we will fix it. And they have. I have been declared cancer free. I understand the fear, I really do but I would wager a great deal of money that you will see those grandchildren grow as you enjoy your retirement.


An 8mm lump is 0.8 cm. The average breast cancer lump is around 2 cm so if it is cancer it is small, or was at the time of biopsy.

I don’t think it will grow much before you get told the pathology results, but they seem to go first to the MDT which is a meeting of surgeons, oncologists and maybe breast care nurses at which the cases are discussed weekly after the pathology reports come in.

Due to the way cancer develops it can take many years for a lump to reach the point of being visible either to the patient her or him self, or become visible on a mammogram. So it doesn’t really appear overnight.

I had pre cancer and cancer at my first diagnosis in 2003. It was not detected by mammogram. I had dense breast tissue. Unfortunately this is the kind of tissue more likely to get breast cancer.

A lot of breast cancer patients do not die of breast cancer. The fear of breast cancer can in some ways be worse than treatment.

Sadly the best treatment for breast cancer is surgery and that scares me more than breast cancer. I have had quite a bit of it now having had breast cancer in the same breast twice in 20 years.

I had a diep reconstruction plus a mastectomy this time at 67 years old and I am under treatment now for oestrogen positive cancer. There are many types so that has a great bearing on treatment. There are NHS guidelines for each kind so you get the best treatment for your kind of cancer wherever you are in the UK. That’s the theory anyway.

Some hospitals are breast cancer centres of excellence so I opted to go to one of these for my most recent treatment.


Thank you for your reassuring reply. He scanned my lymph nodes under my arm when he did the ultrasound and said they were clear and normal so depending on the biopsy results it would probably be a lumpectomy. I’m just worried it’s an aggressive cancer that will spread really quickly. He has given me an appointment for Thursday - so exactly a week after the biopsy which seems quick if they have to have a meeting - unless they have the meeting after they’ve told me how bad it is :woman_shrugging:

I was provisionally diagnosed at my second screening but my results were given to me a week later and mine was a grade 1 slow growing . I think it’s quite usual to have a follow up in one week - I know you’re panicking but try not to read anything into it . It’s how the the service works . Xx

Let me know how it goes


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Hi chrisk

Thanks for posting.

Being recalled following a routine mammogram, having tests and waiting for results is very stressful and it’s understandable you’re feeling confused, upset and terrified.

As others have suggested, breast changes, including those found on a mammogram, can happen for different reasons, including benign conditions.

It’s not always possible for a doctor to confirm what is causing a lump and what if any treatment might be needed until biopsy results are available. This usually takes a week or two.

You say you have googled an 8mm lump and it seems to be classed as big. As @MistyK suggests, this is not the case. Google can be misleading and sometimes this can lead to increased worry and anxiety. This NHS information has some useful tips on managing anxiety.

You are welcome to call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


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