New to all this!

Hi everyone,

I’m 28, I’ve had a few symptoms lately and booked a GP appointment, half expecting them to say there’s nothing to worry about, but I have been referred to the breast clinic.  

Symptoms include; a lump in my left armpit/swollen lymph node, an extremely itchy left nipple, a slightly larger left breast and pain/discomfort in my lower left breast. 

I’m waiting for my referral and then I’ll have to wait for my actual appointment  so quite a bit of waiting to go. 

I have found myself thinking one minute, I’m sure everything will be fine, I have no lump in my actual breast, I’m young etc etc and the next minute thinking I shouldn’t make plans for the future just in case! Very extreme thoughts in both directions, I suppose I’m worried about my mental health over these next few weeks.

From what I’ve read so far this seems like an extremely supportive and wonderfully friendly forum. I was wondering if anyone had any tips or advice both for the appointment itself and for the wait!?

Thank you :slightly_smiling_face:
Emily xo

Hi Emily

I’m sorry you find yourself in this situation. The best advice would be not to think about it but I fear that’s well-nigh impossible. So maybe you can change how you are thinking about it. Go with your first instinct. Most breast issues turn out to be harmless. That’s a fact. Of course, by the time a patient realises that, she’s put herself through weeks of mental torture. I experienced all the symptoms you describe, as well as a large lump, in my early 30s. It was a fibroadenoma, which was removed. No more problems.

In my 60s, I presented with two tiny raised freckles on my areola. My GP was perplexed. Even my breast consultant said there was nothing to worry about. The biopsies proved him wrong and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My point is, there’s no simple diagnosis. Breast problems don’t mean breast cancer in most cases but in some they do. The success rate for treating breast cancer improves by the year. Please don’t start thinking about the loss of a future! Times have changed. I called my blog “It’s only a disease.” I still believe that, although I accept that one day my optimism may be misplaced. The odds are in my favour.

You are definitely in the right place but reading widely round the forums may alarm you a bit. Remember, most of us who use the forums are here because we need support and advice. We don’t often get the success stories (though I consider myself a success - but I too need help and support). So use the forums cautiously for now and please don’t use what we call Dr Google. It’s easy to type in ‘breast cancer symptoms’ but then it’s easy to convince yourself that’s what you’ve got. Google can’t take in the specifics of your symptoms because you yourself don’t know the significance of them in the way a specialist will, and Google cannot take emotions into consideration so there is no apology for upsetting you!

Another piece of advice - try not to poke and prod your breast to look for changes (I think we’ve all been there) as it tends to make things more uncomfortable and tender. A referral is done immediately and the NHS promise is that you will be seen within two weeks. That sounds a long time and there’s time for a lot of worrying so you are wise to be thinking about your mental health. Some people go running or bake or meditate. Mindfulness is very useful if you already practise it. I chose to plug into YouTube videos that really help you switch off for a while. Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing saw me through all my treatments and I still use it. I’ve never got to the second part, the affirmative statements. I’ve no idea what they are! There are also apps like Calm and Headspace which are widely approved.

I hope you get your appointment soon and that you get reassurance rather than a b-c diagnosis when you see your breast consultant. Meantime, relax as often as you can. Take good care of yourself,

Jan x

Hi Emily - welcome to this lovely forum, and a big hug from me too. You have received some wise words from Jan, but I also wanted to drop in and send some support too.

As one of the other Champions, Shi (and I hope she won’t mind me quoting her) advises - you don’t have BC until you are diagnosed. They are words I too try to remind myself when it comes round to annual mammograms. As Jan says, we need to try to change our thinking if we can to help get through a stressful and worrying time.

Try to take one day at a time, and not let your mind race ahead. Perhaps even try to set aside a “worry time” each day - you allocate say 3-4pm as your worry time and if you start to think about it at another time you park it until your worry time. Of course it’s easier said than done, but it’s another exercise to help control the mind a bit.

Now is also the time for lots of treats and kindness to yourself, whatever works for you - bingeing on junky box sets/chocolate.

Don’t forget we are here for you any time you want to chat. And the lovely nurses on here can also be contacted via message or by calling them on the number at the top of this page.

I hope you get your appointment as soon as possible and that you get the reassurance you want. Do call them if you don’t hear from them, in case you have slipped through the net.

Very best wishes, Evie xx

Hi Emily, and welcome to the forum. This is indeed a good place to get support, and you’ve had some great advice already. I can only reiterate what others have said…that until you get a definitive diagnosis then there’s still a 50:50 chance if it being benign. For me the great news is that it’s no longer cancer with a capital C, and there are thousands of people living long, happy and fulfilling lives with this disease. It certainly is not the killer it once was. Medical research has come such a long way and there are many different treatments for the varying types of disease . In the meantime, be kind to yourself . Stay busy and focused on the good things in life. Reach out to friends and family, and dont be shy about it. A good mental attitude will help you greatly. Best wishes . X