Looks Like Cancer, Sounds Like Cancer

Hi everyone–so glad to have found this site.

I am 23yrs old and I just found a small hard, immovable, irregularly shaped, painless lump near the nipple of my right breast. I had an ultrasound today and I’m having a mammogram tomorrow. The doctor said there’s a 10-15% chance that it’s malignant. Is that high?

I’ve been doing all the research I can and I can’t help but think that it must be breast cancer. It sounds like cysts, fibroids, and other non-malignant tumors are different.

But I’m so young…Breast cancer does however run in the family. Both of my grandmas had breast cancer (but in old age–and both survived–though one did have a masectomy)
I’m beside myself with worry. I am an English teacher living in China…I’m far away from my close friends, my boyfriend, and family. The added stress of dealing with this in a foreign country is also overwhelming.

I feel like I can’t sleep or function/work until I get some answers…any words of advice or wisdom would be most welcome.

Even just reading words of support for other worried folks has helped a bit–so thank you


Hi sarahlee, welcome to the forums

I am sorry that you have this worry, our helpline has an overseas number which you can call for further support and information, please call (+44) 2076 200 077, opening times are 9-5 weekdays and 10-2 Saturday (UK times)

You may find the ‘Worried’ section of the website helpful too, here’s the link:


Take care


Sarahlee, I hope I can offer some words of support for you. 10 to 15% is very low. It means there’s a 85 to 90% (ie 8 or 9 people out of every 10) that it is NOT cancer. There are many benign conditions that show as breast lumps.

You are at the scariest part at the moment, the not knowing. Even if it does turn out to be cancer (which does seem unlikely), it’s better when you know what you are dealing with.

I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be to go through this far away from friends and family. I found it hard enough with supportive colleagues and family. Will you also have a language problem, understanding the doctors and consultants?

The fact that your grandmothers had cancer in their old age is probably not too much of a concern for you, as you are young; after all, most peole get some form of cancer if they live long enough!

You’ll get lots of support and encouragement on here. We’re all holding your hand, virtually. Let us know how you get on tomorrow. Will you get your results the same day?

In GB, if they find something on the mammogram and US, they do a needle biopsy to extract some of the dodgy looking tissue and people get results either that same day or up to 2 weeks later (Mine was 8 days later). At the results appointment we are given the treatment plan. I don’t know how it works in China, obviously.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you tomorrow. xxHugsxx

Thank you so much for replying JCJ! It means a lot.

I had the mammogram today and will hear back about it on Monday. So now, the waiting game.

I’ve been hearing lots of words to comfort and they do help, but I also don’t want to convince myself that it’s nothing–just in case it is.

The language barrier hasn’t been a problem yet…my Chinese skills are pretty solid with the occasional dictionary look up for those medical terms.

I’ll keep this thread updated. Hopefully I don’t pull my hair out in the next five days.

me again. playing the waiting game…
I forgot to ask this explicitly in my first post…but my #question is:
can a hard, immovable, irregular shaped lump be benign? I haven’t seen ANY conditions online of benign lumps that fit that description which is why I’m so paranoid.Any opinions would be great

the waiting game is very difficult. It really is not possible to tell anything without scans and biopsies. The wait is agonising but try to find distractions to keep your mind off everything. Be very careful about using the Internet to self diagnose, in fact do not even look at medical sites.
You are in a fantastic country, take this time to see friends, visit historic site, go to restaurants and do all things that you have not got around to.
Wishing you well during this time . good luck.

Hi Sarah
i just want to say how brave i think you are dealing with this away from your family. You certainly are a tough cookie. I live in France with my husband and 1 year old when i was diagnosed and its hard being away from everyone. I think your last question is quite a normal question when your in the waiting room… I explored every option regarding what i could feel and the smoothness etc and could it be this or that etc. In honesty we are all different and no one can say what it is until youhave your results back. You are young though and that is in your favour. It is more commonly found later on in life so take some comfort from that. Over the next few days try and be kind to yourself and keep yourself busy with nice things. Worry will wear you down… here’s to hearing the sounds of ‘all clear’!!!
Sending hugs And strength to see you though the next few days…
Lynne xx

Thank you everyone for the words of support! They really mean so much to me.

I reviewed the mammogram today with the doctor. He catergorized my sonogram/ultrasound as a bi-rads 4a, but the mammogram he rated at a bi-rads 3! He said something about the how the coloring would be whiter if it was cancerous (I THINK–this was in Chinese remember haha) Anyway, he thinks the lump is most likely benign and a fibroid andenoma, but because mine is hard and doesn’t move much with an irregular shape, we did a core needle biopsy. I was worried about the procedure at first, but I didn’t feel a thing! Thank you, anesthesia!!!

So, I’m not completely in the clear yet–I have to wait a week for the biopsy results, but I am very, very happy with the news I got today. One more week of waiting, but at least I can rest a little easier.

Final update.
I just wanted to close this topic off by saying that it was a benign fibroandenoma!!! Thank goodness. When I was in extreme worry mode, all I wanted to see was something online that said a “hard, immovable, irregularly shaped lump isn’t necessarily cancer” I couldn’t find those comforting words anywhere. So if someone in the future is looking for answers, I had a lump that fit all the descriptions of a cancerous lump, but it was not cancer. So there you go. Thank you all for listening and responding.

Wonderful news so pleased for you, hurrah ! xx

Wonderful news! :slight_smile: More evidence for the statement “9 out of 10 lumps are NOT cancer”. Well done for getting it checked out. I hope you are celebrating your wonderful ‘escape’!


Hi Sarah,
I’m glad you’re alright now. I wondered if you had any advice for me as I too have found a hard immovable lump in my right breast which is painless, but I am only 21. At first I thought it was my rib but it’s too much of a bump to be so. Breast cancer does not run in my family. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.

Hi Nicole,you should go to GP and get it checked out.The vast majority of women with breast lumps do not have cancer and there are other non sinister explanations for their symptoms .If you have a scan of some of the threads in this section you will see many women reporting back that they got the all clear after further investigation .This will just continue to worry you so better to go and have your mind put at rest .If it is something that needs dealing with the sooner the better .Let is know how you get on .Jill.

Hey Sarahlee23 hope you are doing great . I have same case and I have my appointment few days later . Can you please tell me what did doctors say after mammography ?