WLE's, follow-up, scarring, lumpiness etc

Hi
Just wondering what other’s are getting as follow-up to WLE’s. I don’t have a follow-up appoinment until January which will be almost a year after the surgery but think I’d be happier with a check-up a bit sooner. A lot can happen in a year I figure.

I have had quite a lot of scar tissue on both sides as I had bilateral WLE’s and quite a lot of tissue was removed, but it is eventually reducing, but one area about the size of a malteser is staying very hard and I think (imagine?) that it may be getting bigger while the area around it is getting softer and reducing in size. This could be the start of my cancer-induced hypochondria which I guessed would kick in at some point. Any tips on telling the difference between scar and not scar?

I have just phoned BCN who will request an appointment with surgeon but as before, my concern is that he is not a breast specialist and therefore my faith is less than if he was. Would it be worth asking for a mammogram - can they tell the difference between scar tissue and cancerous lumps at this point?

Thanks for any thoughts.
S

Hi Shiel

I am just one year down the line and can totally understand what you are going through. I did post on a thread a few weeks ago about this but cant remember what it was called. Like you, I had a WLE,(last September) and from about Xmas felt that the lumpiness was not settling. I asked about it several times and was told it was ‘normal after surgery’, ‘scar tissue settling’, etc. However, after all my chemo, rads and when I was on Herceptin I mentioned it again, and said I felt very unsure of what it was. I then had an early scan, mamogram, then a biopsy as they could see something but not sure what. I then had a needle aspiration done and it transpires it was only a cyst. Phew!! I think the ‘lumpiness’ is something I am just going to have to accept as normal and look out for any changes beyond that. Ask for a referral (early annual review) and get some piece of mind. I hope it goes well for you like it did for me. Take care. J.

Hi Sheil

I had lumpiness in my breast where I had the WLE, and felt it was getting bigger.

Got referred to surgeon from BCN, had an ultrasound done. It was found I had Fibrodema in my breast, was told this happens to lots of woman after surgery. No treatment for it but just take painkillers if I feel twinges in my breast.

Hope you get seen by the surgeon soon and everything goes well for you.

Let me know how you get on.

Love Anne xx

Shiel, it could very easily be a fluid-filled cyst. I’ve had about 12 in all drained since diagnosis (I learned that FEC can aggravate them) and an ultrasound can detect them. Ask your BCN to get you an appointment with the breast clinic so they can take a look. I am also a lot more lumpy around the WLE, but my surgeon told me that there was quite a bit of scarring inside because of how they’d done the surgery to get the best cosmetic results.

Sheil, you’re right to ask to have this checked and not to wait until January. (I’ve just followed my own advice, though not for the same problem.) It could be all sorts of things, most of them benign, but it needs to be seen by a BCN or doctor. Can you talk to the BCN at the same time?

Did you have radiotherapy as well as the WLE?

Thanks ladies, can’t help but feel this is such a great place. Have a concern - just go post and you’ll get somebody with some relevant thoughts.

Jayne - thanks for your story, I do think more than a year is a bit long to wait. I do feel surgeon will just say ‘normal scarring’ and I’ll be sent away and made to feel hypochondriarchical (made-up word)

MM I did have radiotherapy, think its always on the menu when you have WLE. BCN did say today that it may be a result of RT making the scarring area a bit firmer. But as the rest of the two areas are reducing and softening, and this wee bit seems to be getting bigger and harder, that’s what’s worrying me.

CM - I get what you mean about the lumpiness, I’ve been really lumpy since the ops, seriously so, on both sides, but this one wee area is just not responding like the rest.

Annie - great to hear from you - are you coming to next gathering? I can’t say I’ve any discomfort in the lumpy bit, but pathology report did say I’ve lost of background benign disease as well as BC.

I was a bit of a hypochondriac before, so can’t imagine what I’m going to be like from here-on-in. But rather than freak out about it in the middle of the night I’ve decided I’m just going to be knock-knock-knocking on the doctors’ doors.

Thanks again
S

Hi Sheil

Can’t make the next gathering already booked. Hope you all have a great time and hopefully I will catch up with you all next time around.

Love Anne xx

Sheil, get yourself an appointment, and then let us all know that they’ve sent you away with nothing. The docs themselves are just as happy as we are to be able to tell people there’s nothing to worry about, and the three different times I’ve been to see them to have cysts drained I was never made to feel as if I was being a bother or a nuisance. Get on the phone and get an appointment.

Hi all
Did what was recommended, got appointment (very quick too) and just back. Surgeon did feel lump (and don’t you just feel that old panic returning, cold sweat, wobbly insides), sent me for ultrasound, and sat for an hour in waiting room thinking I know if its come back this quick it is a bad thing, thinking whether I’d have to cancel my hols a week on Saturday and give in that they were right in recommending double mastectomy. Not that I tend to overreact or anything!

Radiologist was very good in saying immediately she felt it was fluid-filled cyst, and aspirated it and got some yucky old fluid in needle. Relief was palpable. Getting that bottle of Pomerol out from the back of the cupboard - it is 3rd wedding anniversary so double celebration.

I guess this fretting may be just part of the package we’ve been handed.

Thanks again for the advice and info. It was good to know about the likelihood of the cysts, probably stopped a total meltdown in the waiting room.

Cheers
S
X

Hi Shiel

I am so delighted for you! I know exactly what you describe as that was my experience a few weeks ago. You enjoy that celebration - you deserve it! J.

What a relief!

Last time I had cysts drained (about 2 weeks ago) it was very ouchy, and now I have a lump where the cyst was! I know I should go back and get it looked at, but I have finally got a whole week with no hospital appointments and no contact with medical people at all, so I’m not going to do anything about it until next week. Just want a little bit of hospital-free time.

Hi CM
I am the same. Radiologist said if the cyst was properly aspirated then it should collapse, I think it went down for a short while but is now hard and lumpy again. So think its maybe just part of the process. And it is nice when you get to a point where hospital appointments are not such regular occurences that your whole live revolves round them.

Thanks for all the input ladies.

S

Glad it’s just a cyst, Sheil. Now you can enjoy your anniversary properly.