Still worried

Hi everyone,

Just after a bit of advice…
I noticed a while ago that one breast was slightly bigger than the other - not something I had ever noticed before - but just put it down to early pregnancy as my breasts had started getting bigger quite early on. About 6-8 weeks ago I noticed a lump in the same breast, again I put it down to the pregnancy and didn’t really think much more of it. It started playing on my mind so I mentioned it to my midwife who suggested I get it checked, which I did last week.
My GP just asked when I’d noticed it, how far along in the pregnancy I was (18 weeks at the moment) and then checked it. He said he would suspect it to be fibroadenoma and that I should have a thorough examination when I have my 8 week check after the baby is born (which will be in June 09) and that was that!

Problem is, I didn’t get a difinative answer and it’s still bothering me! He didn’t refer me so I don’t know for sure. Do I wait 6 months like he suggested or should I get a second opinion?

Dear Manta,

Get a second opinion and insist on being referred to a breast clinic. It is not unknown for pregnant women to have delays in diagnosis because lumps have been assumed to be normal breast changes due to pregnancy.

Please note that most lumps are not cancerous so don’t panic. It’s just sensible to have it checked out by a breast clinic consultant. And don’t worry that you are wasting anyone’s time; consultants want to discover that lumps are nothing to worry about.

Women with palpable lumps tend to be referred urgently (seen within 2 weeks) because the small number of referred women who do turn out to have breast cancer need to be treated quickly. Referral guidelines are as follows:

NICE guidelines (England & Wales)
SIGN guidelines (Scotland)

Where lumps are palpable then diagnosis is carried out by Triple Assessment. This consists of clinical examination (the consultant examines the woman’s breasts), imaging (a mammogram or ultrasound is carried out) and histology (a few cells are taken from the lump by fine needle aspiration or core biopsy and are examined under a microscope by a pathologist). If you are referred, it may be that the consultant won’t carry out a mammogram (which is an X-ray) as you are pregnant but will use ultrasound instead.

Hope this is helpful. Again don’t panic - most lumps are not cancer!

Good luck.

Best wishes,