Now worried!


I posted a couple of months back regarding a lump i had found. I got an appointment at my breast clinic where the doctor told me it wasn’t a lump but a thickening. I had an ultrasound which should the thickening but nothing else. However due to family history the doctor wanted to see me again in 6 weeks to see if the thickening was still there or if there was any change. I had my 6 week check up last week (the thick feeling was still there) and the doctor examined me (no ultrasound) and told me that is was glandular tissue. I have had a hot pain under my arm, down the top of my arm and slightly on my neck. I did not tell the doctor this as i suppose i felt a bit silly. Then asked if i was happy with that. Which i replied yes, but i don’t think i am. Could someone please explain to me what glandular tissue means and why that would be lumpy.
The thing was i wasn’t worried at all before going for this check up but after his diagnoses as i am. The reason for this is my mum died from breast cancer and there is a strong history of breast cancer in my family. I am going to see the genetic clinic in a few weeks so had my mums notes sent to me. She was scanned and on the results were glandular breast tissue, told to come back in 6 months. Scanned again and still the result was glandular breast tissue prob benign. They decided to do FNA which came back with cancer, she unfortunately passed away about 8 months after that.

I know i should be happy that i have been told that it is not breast cancer. But i just have a nagging feeling about it.

If anybody could advise me in anyway i would be most gratefull.


I think you should phone the hospital and ask if you can speak to someone and explain what you have told us… also did the onc last week suggest that they would now see you for annual check ups and mammograms? I used to go for these due to my strong family history.

I really think you are going to be worried until you have had the chance to explain the pains you are having and explain how your mum’s cancer presented…

Theresa x

Hi Lilac,

Help is at hand! I have had exactly the same diagnosis, from the oncologist at Southampton, and got a really good explanation. I, too, have the strange pains down the arm (really severe aching at times) and a strong family history of bc, so really thought my time had come!

Here is the detail:
some female babies while in the womb ‘lay down’ some extra tissue where the tail of the breast meets the axilla (armpit). It is called ‘accessory breast tissue’. It generally causes problems only at times of hormonal change in the growing child/adult woman. So, mine started bothering me at the menopause (I’m 50). On clinical examination it presents as thickening. Because it is hormone-responsive the discomfort comes and goes (I have none at all at present). It does not predispose the area to malignancy and is nothing whatsoever to be concerned about. Although I had never heard of it (despite being an ex-nurse and still involved in medical circles) the oncologist knew what it was before he laid so much as a finger on me, just by looking!

Best wishes,
Sass xx

So sorry Lilac; had missed the bit about your mum so just want to add…

My expectation would be that her ‘glandular tissue’ and subsequent breast cancer were unrelated, but clearly that is something you will want to check.

Sass xx

Thank you for your comments, i will phone the clinic and just ask if it is possible to speak to the doctor to find out more info.

I am 31 so am kind of middle of the road regarding puberty and menapose (hopefully). Is it normal to have swollen glandular breast tissue at this age.

It would probably have been better if the doctor had told me if it was a cyst or anything different to what my mum had.


You should have the triple test ie. clinical exam (a doctor feels the breast tissue), mammogram and ultrasound (ultrasound usually more effective in younger women) and fine needle aspiration or core biopsy or both (takes samples of the cells which are in the thickened area)

The triple test is 99.6% accurate for detecting cancer, but you need all three elements for this level of accuracy.

Given your mother’s experience, I’d definitely opt for having the full set of tests and not going on the opinion of someone who has just done a clinical exam