Waiting for biopsy results

Hi, I am pretty new to this…

5 weeks ago I found a painless lump in my right breast. As time went on it got bigger and my nipple became inverted.
I went to my GP who was concerned and sent an urgent referral to breast clinic.
I attended the appointment today and a surgeon looked at my breast. She said it could just be periductal mastitis because of my age (I’m 21)
She sent me for a ultrasound to get a better idea what it was. The doc who did the ulrasound took ages having a look, and then told me there was swelling under my armpit too.
She sent me for a mammogram and then did a core biopsy in the lump and my armpit (hated that bit)
I was told to go back down to make an appt to get my results but I was took into a little room where the first surgeon was. She told me that she had looked at the images and they looked ‘suspicious’. She said that cancer was a possibility but could tell me nothing more until the results come back. She said it is either periductal mastitis or breast cancer- she was very honest. The only thing is- I am missing the main symptoms of periductal mastitis which concerned her. I was then seen by a breast nurse who talked to me about ‘if its cancer’ and the treatments that are available.
Has anyone else had this said to them and it has turned out benign? I am very worried because the surgeon seemed concerned, and they spend a lot of time discussing it all with me.
Sorry this post is longwinded- feels better to write it down.

Much love to you all xxxxxxxx

Hi mummyof2

I’m sorry to read that you are having a pretty tough time at the moment. I’m sure the users of this site will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe you would like to talk to a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 600 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 9.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hello Mummyof2,
Well done for taking the initiative to get your lump checked out, and great that your GP referred you quickly. It is very rare for women as young as you to have breast cancer, but sadly it does happen, so I am glad they are checking very thoroughly to be clear on their diagnosis.

On this forum we know that what we call the ‘waiting room’ is the absolute pits, when your mind goes into overdrive and imagines all manner of things. Fear and anxiety, crying, shouting, laughing, numbness - all these are normal reactions of people on here, so whatever you are feeling is just as authentic.

I can’t answer your specific questions, but hopefully someone will be along soon who is better able to help.

In the meantime, two things we always say to new people posting -

  1. there’s no such thing as silly question, ask whatever you need to ask (even if we don’t always know the answers we do care)
  2. stick to trustworthy websites such as the main BCC one or MacMillan or Cancer Research UK as a lot of what’s out there is out of date, inaccurate or plain old-fashioned dangerous.

Take care, be kind to yourself, and hoping your results come back as peridcutal mastitis - bad enough in itself, but preferrable of the two.


gosh you are so young, much too young to be having this worry.

nowadays they are very good at assessing what is going on in your breast with the information they have from the scans. They do err on the side of caution and so 50% of biopsies are negative.

The lump under your arm will be scaring you by now because I bet you have been googling. I had a swollen node too, which was so hard for them to get a sample out of, and it turned out not to be cancer. It was doing its job, detecting that there was something going on in the breast and swelling up, just as it would if there was an infection.

In times past they did not give out any worrying news, they just used to say " we dont know till we get results" but nowadays they tell you exactly what is what. If they said " a possibility" then that is all it looks like, just a possibility. If they had thought it was probably cancer they would have said ‘it looks like cancer’. Sometimes it is so obvious that the radiologist tells you that it is cancer before you see the doctor. One ladies on here was told, we are so positive it is cancer that if the test comes back negative we will do it again. So they are honest.

Dont worry about how long they took discussing it with you. i am sure that as soon as cancer is any sort of possibility you get put into a certain routine that includes the discussion with the breast nurse and its a pretty standard one. Hopefully next week you are going to be able to throw all those leaflets away.

So it looks like in your case it can go either way, they just dont know. It might be, it might not.

Hopefully given their uncertainty you will be back here in a week telling us that it is after all a benign condition and you are one of the 50% where they got it wrong.

In the meantime you are bound to be worried, its only natural. the helpline cannot tell you if its cancer or not, but they can help you cope with the trauma of waiting, and everyone on here is fantastic, they know what you are going through just now.

let us know how you get on

Thanks for your replies ladies.
I am so scared, I am trying to fathom what my chances are each way because the waiting is just horrendous.
Would the surgeon be able to look at the images from the mammo and the ultrasound and ‘see’ something about the lump which makes them think cancer?
Surely any hospital would not scare anyone without major ground to believe that there is a chance of the worst. I really want to prepare for this appt on Wednesday so whatever it is does not shock me as much if you know what I mean.


yes that is right, they sometimes can see something about the lump that makes them wonder if its cancer or not. Or they can sometimes look and be damned sure it is. In your case they are saying its just might be, its a possibility but not a definite. So it sounds as if they are just wondering if it is or not.

Its so natural when you are waiting for results to go over every little thing the doctor said or did to try and get more clues about what the outcome is going to be. But you are just not going to be able to guess. You are so young that people would say it is unlikely to be cancer and hopefully that is going to turn out to be the case, its just that they are not ruling it out at this stage.

Of course you are scared, we all were. Its the not knowing thats worse. Can you organise some activity or outing over the weekend to help take your mind off it?? you say mummy of 2 does that mean you have children? I suppose if they are at home at the weekend you will be run off your feet anyway.

You poor worried thing all sorts of thoughts must have been cramming your mind .I can not add much to the superb postings from revcat and oldandlumpy.
It is hard sometimes to make a definitive decision by imaging and breast examination alone. They will be looking at your sample very carefully in histology and that is a long process but very important to deciding what is going on. You are very young and the first thought would have been infection large fibroadenoma or a benign phyllodes tumour BUT breast cancer can not be ruled out,
I hope you have lots of friends and family supporting you. The important ything is to remember nobody knows for sure yet, and there could be an infection or benign conditin causing the symptoms.
Take somebody with you when you go for resultd. If only to have a second pair of ears. You will not take in everything that is said. A list of questions from the thouasnds rolling aroun you mind and even a tape recorder will help. The Breast Care Nurse will be available to fill in gaps afterwords and she can be contacted very easily. But it might be an answerphone andy
a call back some hours later because of clinics, ward visits , multidiciplinary meeting and other commitments
The BCC help line is always available during working hour,and you have us.