Waiting on biopsy results feeling so depressed

Im a 40 yr old woman on 3/29/21 i had my first mammogram and some masses where found on my right breast. The technician ordered for me to have a 3d mammogram and an ultrasound i had that done on 5/13/21 and that time they recommended i had another mammogram and ultrasound of my right breast in six months. On 12/2/21 i had it done they said this

. The breast is heterogeneously dense. The

mass within the mid outer right breast is irregular sonographically.

Ultrasound-guided biopsy is recommended.

Category 4 - Suspicious findings. Biopsy should be considered.

Breast density on today’s study is heterogeneously dense. On 12/21/21 i had an ultrasound core biopsy. INDICATION: Right breast 9:00, 3 cm from the nipple, hypoechoic mass. On 12/28/21 i had an appointment to see my breast surgeon but just as i was walking out the door i got a call from her office telling me not to come in because my results were not back. I’m so scared and depressed I know it might be benign but the wait is killing me and no one seems to understand my anxiety is killing me. Is anyone else going through something like this im sorry this is my first time here. 

Hi Luli

I’m sorry you find yourself in this position. What I will say is that waiting feels interminable and what you describe is how almost everyone feels at the start. We’re still here so it’s painful but we survive. You are right, your results may well show a benign condition. 60-90% of referrals to breast clinics turn out to be benign, yet the fear each woman has put herself through because we have a tendency to jump to the worst conclusions feels unbearable.

The language of breast clinicians is alarming and, quite honestly, unless you are someone with little faith in their hospital or with a need to feel completely in control of decisions made, rather than accepting that there are specialists and they know far more than we do, I’d suggest sticking to the basics until you know where you stand. No amount of poring over the written report is going to change the outcome. ‘Suspicious’ does not mean you have breast cancer. It means there is something that needs more tests to identify or eliminate various possibilities. I have CT scans every quarter now and every report so far has come up with various ‘suspicious areas’ - one turned out to be a badly healed fracture of my sternum, not cancer at all. In fact, none has been cancer.

Going through this over the Christmas period is an extra frustration because staffing levels fall at all levels and services are stretched to the limit. My hospital’s radiology department issued an email stating they had a 13 week backlog - I still got my CT scan, only one week late. So the histology labs are likely to be a bit behind. Better they continue to be rigorous than to rush through results. I was a private patient in 2018 and twice I turned up for appointments to find the breast surgeon ringing the labs to get my results, so the problem of delays runs across both sectors, public and private.

You really do need to change your focus from what you can’t control (is it? Is it not?) to what you can control - your emotional wellbeing. Do what makes you feel good - running, baking, yoga, whatever. Make a point of allowing yourself at least two hours a day to practise whatever you find helpful - mindfulness, meditation, journaling. I get by with a daily meditation by Progressive Hypnosis on YouTube. It not only relaxes me, it often sends me off into healthy sleep after a night of insomnia. If you do have breast cancer, this will stand you in good stead as you go through the process of treatment.

Incidentally, over 90% of breast cancers which are caught early need no further treatment and have no recurrence. Breast cancer is crap, the treatments even crappier, but we’re all going through it or have been through it so it’s definitely manageable. I hope you get your results soon (but be prepared for more tests, just in case,). Good luck

Jan x