Results at first appointment?

Hi, I have an appointment next Wednesday at the breast clinic, after a GP referral. I’m obviously anxious about whether or not it will be cancer but what I would specifically like to ask other members is whether there is a chance that on the day of the appointment I could be told I have cancer? Or, would the hospital not know on the day of the appointment? It’s really important to me to know when I would be told I have cancer IF i have it. I know that what happens at the clinic varies so much depending on symptoms and what they find etc, I just need to know if it’s possible that I would be told on the day. Thank you.

Hi Kerry,

Welcome to the forum! 

Most likely they’ll do the mammogram, and if they see a lump which they need to check out, an ultrasound guided biopsy. They usually need to do a really thorough review of the mammogram and wait to get the results of the biopsy back before they know for sure what may be the cause of any lump. In pre-covid times if they needed to check anything suspicious out an appointment would be made for the following week for you to get the results (usually in the hospital with the specialist). I’m sure someone who has been through this more recently will post to let you know if this is still the approach in our current world!

On the day of my mammogram and biopsy I had a brief appointment with the oncologist/breast surgeon who explained the above. I said I knew they couldn’t say for sure until the biopsy results were back but did they think it was breast cancer. I was informed they were sat on the fence (some harmless lumps can look like some forms of bc on the mammogram). They suggested I consider taking someone with me the following week for the results.

I’ve been on and off the forum giving back since I was diagnosed 6 years ago. In that time I can’t recollect many women being told before the biopsy results come back (however I’m sure there must be a few who are told their type of lump looks highly suspicious on the mammo/scan day).

I hope the above helps and that you don’t need to join our club! I’m sure you are aware there are loads of innocent non-bc lumps such as cysts etc. Always lots of advice and support (and space to let off) on the forum should the results not be as hoped. 

Seabreeze x         

Hi Kerry

Recently there have been a few posts from newly-diagnosed people who were told at that first appointment that their consultant believed they had breast cancer from what they had established so far. My GP explained to me (she was sure I did NOT have breast cancer though eventually they found two tumours, hence her apologetic explanation many months later) that she found breast cancer lumps have a different feel around the edges so she was usually pretty certain when she made a referral. She was “astounded” to learn of my diagnosis, let alone the stage of development.

What does this mean for you? All clinicians work differently but if your consultant (not anyone else, they have no right) says you may have breast cancer, you can be pretty certain you have it. Test results will confirm it and determine which further tests are required to establish the type, the extent etc before deciding on the treatment plan.

HOWEVER most breast lumps and breast problems are NOT breast cancer and it is equally likely your consultant will tell you immediately that it’s not breast cancer. Many years ago, a consultant said after a gentle exploration of my breast that he was 99.9% sure I didn’t have breast cancer, that I had a rather large fibroadenoma which he’d still like to remove. So, no one can tell you whether or not you’ll be told. It all depends on hospital policy, consultant preference and the consultant’s reading of your needs. Me? Ultra-anxious!!

I don’t envy you your wait but please don’t look up anything on Google - it’s disastrous because the information is not tailored to individual circumstances, takes no feeling into account and consequently scares the wits out of us. Try practising a lot of relaxation (lots of stuff on YouTube) or go for lots of runs to keep yourself as serene as possible. It’s a good investment at any time but essential now. And take someone with you, even if they have to wait outside, for emotional support. I have never cried over my cancer but I wept buckets with relief all those years back! Good luck x