What the hell does 'hypoechoic' mean??

Hi all, OK here I am, dx March 2009, aged 29. Finished chemo in September, rads in November. First mammogram comes back clear in January then last month I find a pretty big hard lump in same breast but different side. Go see surgeon fully expecting him to say “go away neurotic girl, it’s a rib.” But instead he says, “hmmmm do you mind if we put a needle in it?” Erm, no go for your life. Getting results from FNA tomorrow but in the meantime, he ccs me into a letter to my GP which says the ultrasound has shown up “an hypoechoic area for which there is no obvious explanation”. wtf? Am pretty sure it’s just some weird cysty thing but does anyone know what hypoechoic means or has had a similar experience? It;s never-ending is it …?

I’m no expert but here is a link I found
All the very best to you
Love Maria

Hi i’ve also had a quick look on the web and just wanted to mention there is something else with a very similar name which is often a tumour… i thought i would just warn you in case anyone you mention this too tells you that means it is a tumour… (so the first one gets strong echoes from an US and the second - the type your letter mentions gets weak echoes…)

Structures are said to be hyperechoic when strong echoes are reflected from their internal contents. In some contexts, hyperechoic may to refer to areas which produce stronger reflections than might be expected for that type of tissue. They produce the more white or bright parts of an image.

Structures are said to be hypoechoic when only low-level echoes are reflected from their internal contents, producing the darker grey areas of the image. In some contexts, hypoechoic may refer to areas which produce weaker reflections than might be expected for that type of tissue. Areas in shadow (q.v.) could be described as hypoechoic.

Hmm thanks to you both, so still not really any the wiser. Lesson to self though - must stop obsessing with Google like I did last time, it really did me no good at all! Logically it can’t be anything so soon after treatment and if it is, well I can sue them to buggery (joke).

Thanks again, fingers crossed and all that x

sorry, not able to help with what that means but wanted to send love and wish you well.
Hope you get positive, reassuring news from your FNAC
will be thinking of you
love monica xxx

Hmmmm well it wasn’t quite the “it’s a cyst, off you go” conversation I was hoping for. Apparently lab monkeys who looked at the FNA sample are on the fence - could be something to do with radiotherapy, could be a recurrence. Which would be ridiculous and totally unlikely so soon after treatment. Core biopsy now (OUCH I’d forgotten how much they hurt!), back again next Wednesday. Ho hum … x

hi, hope you dont mind me writing to you, it was your age that caught my eye. im 26 and 5 weeks ago was diagnosed with breast cancer, no body desereves anything like this but you least expect it when in your 20s. without sounding rude ive had plenty opertunity to speak with older ladies who have had it or going through it, but never come accross anyone near to my age. where are you up to with your treatment?

Hi bluesmurf - i agree its shockingly young, i hope you find a at least a couple of ladies to compare note with. i know that “jbug” has only just celebrated her 30th birthday last week, might be worth a personal message.

Good luck

Lynn x.

hi lynn,
thank you for that message, im quite new to all this please could you tell me how i get hold of jbug?? its really difficult trying to find someone near to my age.
if you dont mind me asking how old were you when you were diagnosed??


bluesmurf - if i was you i would start a new thread asking if there was anyone else in their 20’s in the title… i know there are quite a few though… m1yu is only about 24 i think…

Theresa x

hi thersea,
thank you for replying and for your advice, how do i get in touch with m1yu?? x

when you do an ultrasound normal tissues such as skin, fat, muscle and bone produce a typical sound wave reflection pattern on the monitor, cysts. fluid collections and tumours show up as areas of differing sound waves called hyper or hypo - echo - genicity -
hyper - more than
hypo less than
echo is the reflected ultra sound wave from your tissue that is made into a picture on the screen - in happier time this a picture of a baby in the uterus or your heart valves or gall bladder
genicity - means derived from it come from genesis the beginning

so you have an area that does not correspond to normal tissue but that is not necessarily mean that it tumour, it could be cystic, it could be fatty necrosis or even a collection of blood called a haematoma.
hope this helps xxx


If you go to your inbox, then Compose Message, then just type the name in the To box. eg m1yu or jbug.

That sends a personal message that no-one else sees.

Or, do as Theresa suggests and start a new thread.

You would do this by going to forums, then choosing a category, e.g. younger women.

Hope this helps - if not give us a shout again

Lots of good thoughts to you

Lynn x

Hi bluesmurf, sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been away for the last couple of weeks. So sorry to hear of your diagnosis, the shock is something you can never fully prepare yourself for (obviously) BUT, and I know this will seem really alien to you now, it does get easier in time. But for now, just make sure you have good people around you and KEEP TALKING. Make sure you have faith in and trust your surgeon, mine has become like a second father. Make use of all the resources of Breast Cancer Care and the Lavender Trust - I went on a younger women’s forum (sure lots of others on here did too) and it was brilliant. I met some amazing girls who will be friends for life and it was really important for me to find out I wasn’t the only one who was going through this terrible experience. When I was diagnosed I felt like a complete freak but sadly there seem to be a fair few of us 20-somethings around. As for where I’m at with treatment, I finished in November. I had 6 bouts of chemo, it really wasn’t too bad, then radiotherapy which is a doddle. 6 months on and I am feeling almost back to normal and my hair has grown back into a very cool little crop. I promise it will get easier but right now you just have to focus on getting through each day as best you can. Am rooting for you girl, and anyone else who is in the same boat.

In my last post I was talking about waiting for the second biopsy result which came back benign - THANK GOD. However, the lump is getting bigger and is now starting to cause puckering when I lift my arm so I’m thinking of asking my surgeon to just get rid of it, I have to see him again in a few weeks anyway as he said he didn’t really know what it was (probably “an extreme reaction to the radiotherapy”) and wanted to keep an eye on it. I don’t want to turn into some neurotic mentallist and benign is great but I think I’d just like to have it removed anyway. Anyone have any views/similar experience?

BLOODY HELL - turns out that benign reading was wrong, and it’s a new cancer. TOTALLY STUNNED. My treatment only finished in November, this lump has been there since February. Now facing mastectomy, possibly double if BRCA+ (get results of that tomorrow). What I’m not sure of is how they will check for spread given I have a full lymph node clearance last time?

Frances - so sorry to hear it has turned out to be a cancer tumour afterall…:frowning: They will probably send you for CT scan and or Mri and a chest xray and a nuclear bone scan if they are concerned about bone mets…

Theresa x

Managed to get the results earlier - it’s positive for BRCA1. Shiiiiiiiit!

i don’t really know what to type, i just feel so much for you, all i can say is i am sending my love and best wishes down the broadband to you, and feel awful for you having to face up to all this again


Oh, dear Francesca, what awful news. I am so sorry you must be so shocked. It’s really alarming when it just seems to keep growing. When will you find out your treatment plan? Everything always seems much easier once there’s a plan in place. I’m so glad you have a good relationship with your onc. It really helps if you trust them to do their very utmost for you - which they will.
Thinking of you tonight
Jacquie x

I am so sorry, I can’t imagine how you are feeling. I don’t know what to say as I’m sure nothing I can say will help. All the best and if there is anything you need please just shout.