Mamogram vs Ultra Sound

I am a new user and just found this site when goggling for some answers, as I am sure most people do. I don’t want to frighten myself but am just present reeling in shock and not understanding what has just happened to me. Perhaps if I detail it, someone may be able to make sense of it and alleviate some of my concerns please. Here goes:

  1. Have been having strange feeling sensation in armpit since November, didn’t think much of it,
  2. Started getting stabbing pains in left breast mainly at night,
  3. 2 weeks ago felt 2 lumps in left breast, as well as weakness in left arm and pain going into clavicle, went to Gp,
  4. He examined me and found 2 lumps, referred me urgently (within the 14day time line) to Hospital Breast Clinic,
  5. Appt today saw (Consultant), examined me couldn’t feel much, but said I needed to have mammogram to be on safe side,
  6. Had 9 uncomfortable mammograms done, all clear, but they said we just need to check a bit more and have an ultra sound scan done too,
  7. Had ultrasound, find tumour/lump - no word has actually been said! Which I think it said was 5 x 3 cms, in left breast + the armpit is a torn ligament? from having such large heavy breasts and an age thing as they are starting to sag LOL!!
  8. Results from ultrasound sent to Consultant, saying they found tumour/lump with raised edges (!) whatever that means, and I need an urgent core biopsy done guided by another ultra sound on the lump in breast,
  9. Consultant tells me the news and sends me back to Ultra sound dept for core biopsy with scan to be booked in either today or asap. Only one consultant can do them and she is not in till next Monday, so booked in for Monday at 2pm.
  10. When biopsy is done then have to wait for results! Which can take between 2 days to a week maximum.
    That is where I am now, what I am struggling with is why would whatever this is not show on a mammogram but yet show on an ultra sound. The Consultant’s last words to me were try not to worry I’m pretty sure it’s nothing to worry about, and would be rather shocked if it’s anything major!!!
    I look forward to receiving any comments, or guidance on this, so that I can stop pacing round the front room…
    P.s. I am 44, have 3 grown up children and possibly hit or hitting the menopause now (well periods have been erratic for 18 months now and seem to have disappeared for the last few months - if that also means anything?)

Hi there, and firstly, I am so sorry you have found yourself in this horrible worrying waiting room… we have all been there too, and totally understand how terrifying it all is.

On a relatively young woman, which you are, mammograms are not always the best diagnostic tool, as our (I’m 41) breast tissue is still denser than that of an even slightly older lady - so mammos cannot see as much, and can miss things. This is often one of the reasons given for not offering annual mammos at an earlier age than 50. Ultrasounds can be much more effective, and specific at pinpointing problem areas… but they cannot tell you outright whether the lump is or is not cancer. Sometimes it can be pretty obvious to a radiographer that it is… but it does sound in your case like there is a large degree of uncertainty… hold onto that, because for the time being, that’s good news…

On the downside, having to wait for a biopsy is going to be hell, let’s not kid ourselves here - the waiting is the absolute pits. Hopefully you will get the test results through quickly, and I can assure you that no matter what the tests say… you will feel such a sense of relief when you ‘know’ for certain what you are dealing with. I hope very much that the lump they found is benign, and there is every possibility that it is, but even if that proves not to be the case, at least you will know what you are looking at, and can get on and deal with it.

All I can say to you at the moment is remember to breathe, be kind to yourself, accept your head will be in turmoil and it will be difficult to think of anything else… and feel free to come on here for support. Right now is the hardest time, silly though that may seem.

Big hugs your way

Sophie xxx

Hi i really just want to reiterate what Sophie has said. I too am 44 and nothing showed on a mammogram but the lump was easy to feel. During ultrasound the radiographer knew straight away…well she said’ this loooks a little sinister.’ I had an aspiration mammogram ultrasound and biopsy all done on the same day and this is what really gets my goat…the difference in different hospital trusts!! It is really so unfair to make you wait like this but unfortuanately it looks like you have to. Its pointless saying dont worry because we all do at every stage of this.
I do hope it all turns out well for you but i know the waiting is a real bu**er. Once you know what is in front of you then things will start to get easier.
Thinking of you, Sally

Yup, what they said. My tumour was feelable (by them in any case, I’d only found the cysts that got me to the GP!) but it was describes as “mammogram occult”, meaning it couldn’t be seen on a mammo because of dense breasts (I’m 48). I watched the ultrasound and there was definitely something there among the cysts, which the radiographer doc didn’t hide, and I watched the core biopsy being taken, but the doctor who did it was very close-lipped and didn’t give anything away. One thing to stress to you - don’t read too much into it if you don’t get any feedback from whoever does your scan, unless they’re specifically trained in interpreting scans (and even if they ARE so trained) they are often NOT ALLOWED to give any indication. The best you can ask really is whether the pictures and samples they have taken are adequate to give a good diagnosis. Can you imagine if you’d been given the wrong message just how dreadful you’d feel to get a different diagnosis when the biopsy results came through!

Even though the doc at the breast clinic was very thorough and checked both breasts (for which I am grateful) even though I had only felt lumps in one, my surgeon wanted to be sure she knew the full extent of what she was dealing with, so she also sent me for an MRI scan. She did warn me that MRI picks up all sorts of other bits and pieces that a radiographer might not be able to completely rule out but that often turn out to be completely normal changes in breast tissue, so if you’re sent for an MRI and then get called back again, please don’t go bananas with the worrying, it’s even more common for things identified on MRI to turn out be perfectly normal stuff like fibrocystic changes, cysts, etc etc. I had to go back for a core biopsy and I swear that by the time I got those results I’d convinced myself I’d be dead by the end of the week - it turned out to be NOTHING to worry about.

Good luck, and I hope you get your results really quickly, “The Waiting Room” completely sucks and we really feel for you.

Hi All

I am also a newby to this, joined a couple of weeks ago when I was worried re lump in my left breast and under arm. My appointment was for the 23rd but it was brought forward when my partner called and asked was there any cancellations. I attended last Wed 16th and as soon as the consultant examined me he told me the lump was suspicious, I immediately had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. They confirmed that day the lump in the breast is def cancer and they will confirm this Wed 23 if the lump under arm is cancer too but they are quite sure it is. The service and advice I have been given from the breast clinic team in Glasgow is amazing and has helped me cope with this diagnosis.
I also received a bone scan today, which thank god was clear and booked for a CT scan on Thursday. These extra tests were done because I have other symptons like back pain and kidney/urine infections and a high volume of blood in my urine for sometime now.
I am shocked, scared but very happy that the bone scan is clear. I also know that thousands before me have beaten this and I am going to remain positive. I will get my treatment plan on Wednesday too.
My lump is large, uneven and has other smaller bits growing from it. I thought it was just lumpy tissue because I attended hospital approx 20 yrs ago and was told I had lumpy breast, but it just goes to show that any changes should be checked immediately.
It is with thanks to this forum that I even went to get this checked because the symptoms some of you had matched mine like dimpling etc and had I not read this I would not have been diagnosed. Thank you all.



Wow, thanks guys!! Really appreciate the advice and suggestions… And glad to see I am not alone in this, thank you.

I do have one other question which I was hoping that the consultant would have addressed today, but with the way things flowed, and me falling to pieces in his office I never even got to ask!! But the main reason I went to the Gp in the first instance was the pain in my breast, I get stabbing almost poker pains shooting through the breast as well as the top of my breast feeling hot, swallon and sooooooo tender to touch/knock or brush against… Is there anything I can do/take to alleviate this pain (Ibuprofen doesn’t touch it). Is the pain because of the lump, I really don’t know… Thanks …

Just a quick update - on progress:
Went back to hospital today to have the core biopsy done. I was absolutely dreading it but it actually was totally painless, I had so many questions in my head that I wanted to ask but had convinced myself that the radiographer wouldn’t answer them, how wrong was I? She was wonderful and went through everything with me. Including the mammograms which I was told last week showed nothing, but it seems they did show the lump, hence why they sent me for a U Sound after. Anyway, she did the core biopsy after showing me my ‘lump’ which is 5 x 3cm big, she thinks that it is a fibroadenoma, but is surrounded by 8 cysts. Before she did the biospy she aspirated it and liquid came out and her words was it is very cysty?? Anyway after the liquid came out the number of cysts reduced down and she continued to do the biopsy. She seemed confident that it would come back benign. I am just a bit puzzled as to why thus fibroadenoma would have cysts, as I cannot find any links between the two… Just seems a bit strange. Anyway, the waiting continues, she is now the second person to mention have I hurt my breast recently, which I cannot remember doing. The only thing I can think may have caused the injury (if its an injury?) is given that I have large breasts my seat belts never hang over me properly and always cut into the part of the breast where the lump now is. Think maybe I need a seatbelt extension. Anyway, back to waiting on results…

That all sounds very, very positive - I’m keeping everything crossed for you!

Sophie xx

She probably did say you were “cysty”. Me too. The lump I found WAS a cyst, but unfortunately when they were dealing with that, they also found something that wasn’t. Sounds very good from what you’ve described though, and I’m very glad you didn’t have any discomfort with the biopsy. You can expect to get some very pretty bruises though, and don’t be surprised if your boob feels a bit sore once the local anaesthetic has worn off.

Please keep us posted with your results, we like to read good news! (And I love the username!)