Long waiting list


Can anyone advise me what to do? I’m 31 and I found a small hard lump in my left breast because I had pain there. It’s right under the armpit. I went straight to the GP who examined me and gave me an urgent referral for further tests. She said it would be 4 weeks wait at the most. Now two weeks have passed and she called and said that the clinic have decided it’s not urgent (without seeing me) so now I have to wait 8 weeks for an appointment. I’m really scared that waiting this long is dangerous.

Everywhere I read that 85% of lumps aren’t cancer, but that means 15% are, so surely I need to find out quickly to improve my chances of a good recovery if it IS cancer?

I also found out about private treatment. A mammogram would be £160, which I could afford, but the clinic won’t just do a mammogram because I’m already symptomatic, and a full range of tests will cost £900, which I can’t really afford, but I would find the money from somewhere if people advise that 8 weeks is too long to wait.

I’ve usually only good things to say about the NHS but I feel let down here, and really scared that if I do the wrong thing, or act too late, then it’ll harm me.

Please advise!

My understanding is that if you have a palpable lump you should be seen within two weeks. Usually a few weeks won’t make any difference, but you are going to be worried so if I were you I would go back to my GP to see if I could be seen sooner.

But don’t forget that it probably is a cyst or similar, and you are probably fine.

hi there,
i don’t want to worry you too much here but i’m 35 and was diagnosed in april 09 with invasive breast cancer. I also found a small lump near my armpit and was referred as a non-urgent case to a breast clinic as i have no family hisory and no other symptoms.
i beleive NICE regulations state that non-urgent cases should be seen within 4 weeks. Although i was initially seen by a breast “specialist” within 4 weeks, they didn’t perform any tests at this date as he thought it was hormonal. In total i waited 8 weeks until i had a mammogram ultrasound and biopsy and they were very apologetic when the results came back as cancer. I was told that the few weeks i had extra to wait would have made no difference at all to the cancer, but it is still frustrating and scarey. I would advise you to speak to your gp and mention the NICE guidelines. Also ask if there are any other clinics you can go to with less waiting time as you need not neccassarily attend one in your locality.
Although it is quite rare that younger women get breast cancer there has recently been a lot of publicity around this issue and women like myself and others on here are detecting the cancer early, but it is unfortunate that GP’s and specialist clinics are less ready to respond to our concerns.
on a more positive note my friend had a scare last month and as a result of my condition she went to her drs and explained this and was seen within a week for an ultrasound which came back all clear.
Im quite happy to be your friend too if this helps speed up the process for you when you speak to your gp.
best of luck


what a worry for you. I have worked in cancer services in the past, and the ruling was then that we put all cancer or suspected cancer referrals through to get seen within 10 working days.

however these must be put through on suspected cancer refferal forms and the ruling then was then that only patients over 25 were referred this way.I think this age rule has now changed

however it is up to your GP to send in as urgent.hope you get this sorted out soon

keep well xxxx

Thanks for the advice. Since I wrote I phoned my GP (she’s been really good) and she will contact the clinic again and push for my case to be treated as urgent so that I will be seen within 2 weeks.

It was the clinic who downgraded me to non-urgent. I hope this won’t happen again.

pixielox thanks for the advice I’ll use this if nothing comes from my GP’s action. Get well soon!

no probs…i hope your wait is over soon and you can move on from here - as so many people say its the waiting and not knowing that is the hardest and the longer you are in this limbo the worse it all seems. Keep us posted on how you get on. Fingers crossed.