Lump in breast but clear mammogram and U/S.

Hello. I am 39 years old. Mother of 4. My breast have been hurting for a couple of weeks. I did a self breast exam. I felt a lump. I went into my doctors and she checked and found 3 lumps. So 5 days later I go in for a mammogram. 5 mins later they come back. They find a spot that seemed suspicious. They said I had very dense breasts. So wanted to do an ultrasound. As the technician looked. She could not find anything to measure. Is what she said. She kept going over the spot exactly where I felt the first lump. She said she could feel it too. She went to show the radiologist and then came back a few mins later and told me that they believe it’s just granular tissue. For me to keep an eye on it. If it gets harder or grows. To go back right away for another exam. So I was sent on my way in the clear. But I can’t help but to feel like it’s just not right. My right underarm  has been hurting. My nipples tingle. Sometimes they itch like crazy. I have been having a numb lip and chin for over a month. Not sure what that’s about. I have been extremely tired. I sometimes randomly puke for zero reason. I have stomach bloat badly the past year or so. A few months ago I had extremely high blood pressure and had to get medicine at the ER to lower it right away before it could kill me. They said they believe I had water around my heart or lungs. My question is. Can they be wrong? Can I have cancer and both mammogram and ultrasound didn’t pick up on it? Should I get a second opinion? Btw…I have had a full hysterectomy leaving ovaries a year ago. Thanks. 

If you are uneasy I would ask for a second opinion .Some types of breast cancer don’t show up easily on mammograms ( in particular lobular ) and may need an MRI scan or a biopsy to determine exactly what’s going on .My cancer wasn’t visible on ultrasound but was seen on mammogram and the radiographer was uncertain what they were looking at so I had a biopsy .Sounds like you have had a rough year healthwise but Its unlikely the other issues you have are connected to breast cancer and your anxiety will amplify your awareness of every little ache and pain at the moment .If you can push for either a second opinion or an MRI scan to put your mind at rest I would .Let us know how you get on .Jill x

Hi Lisa

I agree with Jill. Although there is a strong possibility that you are cursed with lumpy breasts (as one of my friends is), if you have any doubts, ask for a second opinion. My diagnosis went in 3 weeks from ‘nothing to be concerned about’ (from an experienced breast surgeon) to full mastectomy and axillary clearance. Yet I’d had a clear mammogram and U/S! Only the surgery revealed how far my breast cancer had developed. That’s not to say you have anything to worry about - most breast lumps are benign - but to show that sometimes the tests are fallible until they are repeated or looked at with fresh eyes.

A lot of what you are describing - your numbness, bloating, periodic vomiting - are very similar to anxiety symptoms so maybe you could be doing something about that in the meantime. I got through everything by plugging into Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing on YouTube but there are loads to pick from. Michael Sealey has one specifically for vomiting and digestive problems that I found very useful. Your mental wellbeing is a huge part of this. Itchy nipple? I was cursed with that from the moment I went on the pill in the 1970s and it never went away but it’s not generally a sign of breast cancer. I’ve had a full mastectomy but I still get the phantom nipple itch - it’s just harder to scratch now!

I hope you find some peace of mind. It’s horrid to be in such an uncertain state. Take care of yourself x

Hello Lisa

The one phrase of yours that really stands out for me is, ‘But I can’t help but feel like it’s just not right.’ It’s your body and no-one can possibly know it and read its signals in the way that you can. I would suggest that you go with your instincts and pursue your concerns, if only in order to give you some certainty and peace of mind. 

And in answer to your question, ‘Can they be wrong?’, I don’t wish to sound alarmist but, yes, they certainly can. Both mammograms and ultrasound are very useful diagnostic tools but they are not foolproof. I celebrated a clear routine mammogram last June. Just a few weeks later I discovered a very definite, very obvious and very painful lump, ultimately resulting in a full mastectomy. The tumour had shown up clearly on the pre-surgery mammogram so it was not one of those pesky cancers that are not able to be picked up in screening. Similarly, my pre-surgery ultrasound suggested there was no lymph node involvement. This proved not to be the case either and I went on to have further surgery for full axillary lymph node clearance. 

Maybe I have just been unlucky. I don’t wish to sound negative but neither would I wish to offer false reassurance. We all need to have confidence in the procedures and treatments we are offered but we also need to accept their limitations and their occasional fallibility and perhaps place our greatest trust in our own instincts and what our bodies are telling us. That is certainly the one really big positive I am taking from my own experience. 

Good luck!