Terrified after seeing surgeon about breast lump


I found a lump in my right breast back in May.I went to have it examined and the doctor said not to panic as to her it felt like a fibroadenoma but she was going to refer me to the breast clinic to be sure.

I finally had my appointment last Tuesday.I hadn’t panicked up to this point but my conversation with the surgeon has me terrified.Firstly he called it an ill defined mass and more of ridge than a lump.He asked if there had been any trauma to the area.There has been over the years but not recently and when I told him so he said well this is odd and concerning to feel and he said something to the student doctor about it being deep.

I was on my own and burst into tears.He then began to back track and say it is just strange,you are only 31,no family history and I don’t think it feels like cancer but it does need an ultrasound and probably a biopsy.He then went on to say that about 10% of masses like this are cancer which means that 90% aren’t.

I am back in on Tuesday to get those test and now convinced it will be cancer.I feel the surgeon was trying to prepare me for the worst but then didn’t want to continue when I became tearful


I understand you are in a potentially worrying situation. I think most women tend to look at the statistics the reverse way initially so you certainly aren’t alone in your fear. I remember bursting into tears in my 30s when my consultant told me he was 99% certain my lump was a fibroadenoma, though it needed to be removed just in case. When it was breast cancer three decades later, I just said a rude word.  

These are my objective thoughts. First, most breast lumps referred to hospital turn out to be benign, especially at your age. Second, your consultant had a student present and therefore was examining you and expressing his thoughts out loud. Sometimes they don’t appreciate just how terrified we may be and what thoughts are spinning round our heads. They should know better. They are, however, used to tears. If your consultant had needed to “prepare you for the worst”, tears wouldn’t have stopped him.

Third, a lot of fibroadenomas are removed ‘just in case’ because they can be very ill-defined and that tiny seed of doubt has to be eliminated by histology. Fourth, the main thing for me, is that you are opting to look at the percentages in, what is for me, the reverse direction. Why put yourself through agonies that you may be the 1 in 10, when equally you might be in the 9 out of 10?

I truly sympathise with you and urge you to be very gentle and compassionate to yourself in the next few days. Spend time switching your thoughts off in whatever way works for you - mindfulness, meditation, yoga, running - but also ask yourself why you are so convinced you have breast cancer when your consultant hasn’t suggested you have (though he has been very clumsy in his treatment of you). Try to focus on the 90% and you’ll find your perspective will change markedly. It may not be easy but it could make a big difference. Meantime, please don’t search for information on Google - it’s toxic when it comes to breast lumps.

I hope all goes well for you on Tuesday and you manage the waiting for results with greater optimism.

Jan x

Can’t stop myself crying today.Just don’t know how to cope Knowing that there is a very good chance my world comes crashing down around me tomorrow morning.

Have just gotten back and thankfully have good news.The radiologist said all she could see was a fatty lump and no further testing was needed.I just want to thank you ladies so much for your support.It is a very frightening situation to be in and my thoughts are with any woman in that awful waiting phase and of course love and prayers for those who did not get good news