Scared out of my mind

I posted before and I have been referred to the breast clinic I have a hard pea like lump two fingers from my nipple, I’m bricking it. I’m 32 years old and I know cancer does not care. Any advice?

Hi jazzy

Advice? Would you be able to take it at this stage? OK, here goes:

  1. Most referrals to breast care clinics (up to 90% I believe) result in benign diagnoses - cysts can be hard pea-like lumps, for example

  2. Your reaction is fuelled by what really angers me - the media perception of breast cancer as a remorseless killer no one and nothing can stop. What you are feeling is completely understandable but, within that 10% of those unlucky enough to be diagnosed with breast cancer, most will be cured and never troubled by it again. 

  3. You will have been referred and, if you’re in the UK, should be seen within 2 weeks. Unfortunately for many that is 2 weeks of hell, more often than not unnecessary hell.

  4. You will be examined and undergo a range of tests depending on what the consultant can feel (they can usually tell a bc lump from a cyst by touch but always must make sure)

  5. You don’t have breast cancer until your consultant actually tells you specifically. Ignore the muttering, don’t try to read between the lines or interpret facial expressions - wait until you hear the specific words from the consultant, nobody else.

I really feel for you right now but I have learned from personal experience (I was a wreck when I learned I had to have chemotherapy - what a waste of precious energy that was!). Breast cancer is described as an emotional rollercoaster but why jump on before you have to? So my actual advice is this: The next few weeks will be challenging and, if you are unlucky, the next months might be. So spend this time building up your resilience, the one thing that will take you through the experience. There are NHS-endorsed apps like Calm! and Headspace, many put their trust in mindfulness or meditation, many throw themselves into what makes them feel good like yoga, walking, running, baking - whatever suits you. 

My constant support in the last few years has been YouTube where there are plenty of videos to plug into. I found Progressive Hypnosis and started with their Cure Anxiety video which I listened to daily. I still have no idea how it ends as I was always off with the fairies in minutes. I now use their meditations to help with inflammation, nausea, healing and believe they have had a huge impact on my attitude to cancer. Daily practice is essential. But that’s my choice - the passive approach suits me and has strengthened my resilience.

I do hope your fears are unfounded. I could say try not to worry but that’s useless advice. If you need someone to talk to, I can’t recommend enough the nurses’ helpline at the number top right. They provide an excellent service, are knowledgeable but above all, sympathetic listeners. Give them a try? Wishing you all the best

Jan x