Reading your posts it appears that you are probably posting from a country different to the UK. The UK does not operate an insurance based health care system and the view point you are sharing is possbily not relevant to the UK. This is a UK based Forum and the information and treatment options provided by our specialist clinical team at Breast Cancer Care are based on the UK health care system.
The support provided by all the users on this Forum is of course relevant to everyone, regardless of where you live. I hope that you find the support you are looking for on here Khaki.
Digital Community Officer
You have posted today 5 times suggesting Members who are currently undergoing tests / treatment read you Blog and join your Crusade as we have all been mislead.
The link is not available and therefore we can't read it..............Maybe you could copy and paste it.
I had a Mammogram in October 2011 at age 49 which was reported as clear yet 12 months later i was found to have a 6.5cm tumour. I had experienced the most stressful year of my life with my Brother in ICU in Spain, with just myself and one other Sister to support / finance his Care. I can recall walking round Alicante on my own having a panic attack. I do sometimes wonder...... When you talk about 'our private system' what is it you are referring to please.
I hope you are doing well now. Our health care system, NHS or private, seeks to maximize profit by deferring to the insurance industry. In fact, our private system is seeking to go to 3-year screening, too. I was also fooled about the reliability of even yearly mammography. We are all entitled to know more about the use of the far better BC screening tool of contrast-dye MRI.
Please read my story at mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis) and join my crusade. Thank you.
I hope you are doing well now. I was also fooled about the reliability of mammography. Please read my breast cancer story at mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis) and then help me spread the word about the far better tool for BC screening of contrast-dye MRI.
Our health care system and the insurance industry have become a merged unit and health care covers up the use of MRI, because insurers don't want to cover it. The patient hauls in money to the doctor, then gets betrayed. My story won't waste your time. Thank you.
I was fooled about mamography, too. Please read my breast cancer story at
http://mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis)
We all need to know more about the limitations of mamography and how screening by contrast-dye MRI is light years better. It is covered up, because insurers don't want to pay for it. Our health care system has become one entity with the insurance industry and cheats the patient. My story won't be a waste of your time.
I'm sorry, but I think you were as fooled as I was. Please read my breast cancer story at
http://mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis)
We all need to know more about how poor mammography is and screening by contrast-dye MRI is light years better. Thank you.
I hope you are doing well now. I, too, was fooled about the use of mammography. I would like for you to read my breast cancer story and join my crusade about the use of the far better BC screening tool of MRI. My story is posted at
http://mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis). Thank you.
I hope you are doing well now. There is a lot more that all of us need to know about how limited mammography is and how much better is the breast cancer screening tool of contrast-dye MRI. Please read my story at http://mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis) and join my crusade. Thank you.
This is why women need to get a breast MRI scan at 50. Please read my breast cancer story at
http://mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis)
Please read my breast cancer story at
http"//mammogramsanddcis.blogspot.com (mammograms and dcis). I was fooled about mammography.
Hi there, the scan showed a 10% growth in under 3 weeks so my chemo was started just a week later as surgery would have delayed treatment. Even in that week, the main lump changed shape and could actually be seen, not just felt. It was so frightening. However, I am now on my 3rd cycle of HPTC and the results are staggeringly good. The main tumour can't be felt now, even by the Oncologist, who is elated. My body is having a hard time of it though and I ended up hospitalised with acute kidney injury in my first cycle for 4 days and sepsis after my second for 6 days! The dose of Docetaxel and Herceptin have been reduced to 80% in the hope I'll cope better, so my goal this cycle is to avoid a hospital stay! I have another 5 cycles to go, so hopefully I will get used to it all. Xx
Hi JoDec, just read your post and wanted to ask how your CT scan went? Hopefully all was good and no mets were found x
I had a breast exam in Feb of this year and it was all clear. Was diagnosed with a grade 3 tumor and a positive lump in my lymph nodes, on the 2nd August. The main lump is just over 2cm, but I do a self exam every few weeks and felt nothing at all until the end of July. I have been assured that it takes years to grow, but this was not there just a couple of months ago. I am waiting for CT scans to look for mets and I am so frightened. I know exactly how you feel and you need to push for any cancellation, if not for medical reasons, then for emotional and psychological reasons.
Sorry to read of your anxiety at this difficult time. I think its hard for us to advise you, as only you can really decide. Personally I would go for the first option because waiting for appointments is always the hardest part. It is impossible to say at this stage whether its BC or not, and even if it is, the rate of growth depends on the grade and this won't be known until a biopsy is done.
Maybe you need to consider how far away you need to travel and how easy is it for you to get there. A lot of my appointments were quite far away anyway and I was lucky to have family and friends to help .
Try posting in the ' Have I got BC' section where there is a thread called Appointments and Waiting for test results.
Best wishes xx
Maggie don't torture yourself.Go to the doctor. It may not be cancer, but if it is, the sooner it is dealt with , the better the outcome. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. It was a terrible shock but now my treatments have ended & I am getting back to normal. Cancer is not an automatic death sentence. There are loads of lovely women on this site who will support you & if you phone Breast Cancer Care you will be able to speak to someone.
Hi Maggie, have you been to your GP yet to get a referal to the breast clinic? If not please do this today and get yourself checked out as soon as possible, the likely hood is it will be nothing sinister, the majority af lumps are benign, the stress after finding a lump is horrendous and the dark thoughts your having are completely normal! The reality however is nothing like what you will be imagining, if your diagnosed then it's very treatable and a high percentage of ladies get on with life and never look back, just take things a step at a time but get the ball rolling and you will hopefully find things are all ok Xx Jo
I am beginning to wonder about this question because although when I first started on this 'cancer' route of life, my mammogram showed calcifications that amassed to 9mm in size. This was deemed small and was confirmed as DCIS. I was offered WLE in Dec and then after path results the tumour had measured 48mm/55gms in weight!! I, of course, queried this and was told by the surgeon that the tumour would not have grown so large so quickly for non ivasive DCIS with clear margins and no lymph node spread. Subsequently, I have now been referred to have 15 sessions of rads due to the size of the tumour.
I queried the tumour measurement further in comparison to the mammogram one, and was told by a registrar that the sizing on the mammogram cannot be accurately predicted and that in many cases the true size of a tumour is only close to accurate when breast conserving surgery is done. (WLE) and closely scrutinised, weighed and measured out of the breast area.
I'm still pondering on some of these points as I think a different approach to getting early enough treatment is the key. I personally think that once a woman begins menopause or is close to it, she should be encouraged to make an appointment with her GP to determine through a blood test if Meno has started and then straightaway be put on to the mammograhy programme or some other service that helps to monitor the development of cells that could lead to breast cancer.
I was first called up for screening at the age of 52. My menopause began in 2013, 49 and so, who knows, whether due to the major changes taking place in my body, an earlier detection of the tumour may have come to light or been caught earlier than at 48mm/55gs.
For me, the mammogram definitely helped to detect the mass as I felt no lump and neither did the nurses at US and hands on stages so for tha,t I am grateful. However, I can't help feeling that in my case, at least, an earlier diagnosis, 3 years ago, may have gone some way to reduce the process I now have to endure. HINDSIGHT IS A WONDERFUL THING!!
My oncologist said that 15 rather than 30 sessions of rads delivered the same amount but in larger fractions. My skin did break down but not until i had finished the radiotherapy - about 2 weeks after i think.
....and all the screening in the world is of no use if you are below the screening age in the first place.
I had my first NHS screening at 50 - nothing was detected. Following my second at 54 I was recalled. After a couple more mammograms on my recall appointment the doctor was still unsure as to what was there. However, an ultrasound showed a large marrowfat pea type lump. That image is etched in my mind forever and the click of the ultra sound taking the image sealed my fate! I had a cone biopsy done there and then and a week later I was told I had BC. Following a lumectomy and a sentinal node biopsy, I was found to have had a 17 mm tumour with clear margins and had three lymph nodes removed for testing which fortunately were clear. I am ER+/HER 2 +++.
The fact is - the mammogram set the ball rolling. If I had not had it I dread to think what would have happened. I never felt a lump and was told that the tumour was growing very near the chest wall almost hidden by a muscle. By the time I would have felt/noticed anything it would probably have been extremely advanced. Therefore I am very grateful for the screening programme. My onc says that the powers-that-be are debating over whether or not to continue with it - the number of women actually benefitting from the programme not equating to the amount of money spent on it. He says that some countries (I think Finland/Denmark) have stopped. I know that mammograms are not without their problems but I don't think they should be stopped.
I have been told there is a possibility that my tumour could have been in a microscopic form at my first mammogram and too tiny to detect.Because of the nature of the beast I don't think that anyone can give a definite answer. I know what you mean about being tormented with questions. The whole situation is so worrying and frustrating. Sorry if I've waffled on a bit.
I was in the breast cancer screening trials from 40 to 48 - after my mammo at 48 I was told that I would enter the normal mammo screening at 50. I expected to be called when I was 50 = at 51 1/2 found a lump - 2cm visibly palpable, Grade 2 - extensive vascular invasion but no lymph node involvement. Received my letter for routine mammo while I was having chemo at 52 and 3 months. Was told that you are called for mammogram on your doctors surgery - they do a 3 yearly cycle of surgeries and you can be anywhere betwee 50 and 53 when first one called. I often think if I had been called at 50 would they have caught it early before it had spread to blood vessels. My Consultant said he thought I had had it about 18 months which was strange as 18 moths previously I fell badly and landed on my arm which cracked my collar bone on the side where the cancer grew. Love Sandra
I had had a mammogram in the Jan all clear then in the july found the lump. I check my breasts every month and the lump had not been there the month before. 2nd mamogram showed nothing and ultrasound just a dense area. After the op I had a 15mm grade 3 tumour with 6 yes 6 lymph nodes affected. It is her2 receptive.
I'm one of the dense breast brigade, despite being 58 and 11 years past the menopause.
I discovered a small, smooth, mobile lump high up in my armpit, there was no palpable lump in my breast. At the breast clinic I was give a mammogram (clear) and ultrasound scan (clear), a core biopsy of the lump showed it was a lymph gland affected by bc cells. Another ultrasound still didn't pick up any breast primary. Eventually an MRI scan showed 3 tiny lesions - so I had a mastectomy.
Histology showed one 3mm area of DCIS, one 3.5mm and one 6mm area of IDC. (Yes, that's MILLIMETRES)!!! . I am ER and PR positive and HER-2+++, and the HER-2 positive had already spread to my lymph gland (only the one thankfully).
I was told I had probably had it for about 2 years so I, too, wonder about the point of mammograms in my particular case!
Sarcath, with regard to your "polyp", I had to have two large cysts aspirated about 10 years ago, in the same breast I lost to breast cancer.
My BC was DX in Dec 07, after being called for my first Mammogram (initially called July but was on holiday wasn't 50 until Oct, no lump etc, could not get back into the screening system, despite several phone calls, eventually got an appt for end Nov) was recalled and was told there was microscopic tumour, but they had caught it early, was extremely shocked, (I have always wondered if I had gone in July would it have been caught even earlier or would it have been even there will never know that answer so have to live with that), I had scan and biopsy when I went in for localisation on day of op, DR said there was a lump, had not been one prior to biopsy, I had WLE, SNB, tumour was 15mm, and I had 10 lymphs out 1 was infected. (They originally told me that because it was so microscopic it would not have spread.) I had the operation moved forward a week because I was so stressed. Originally I was told I would only need RADS, now I have been offered CHEMO which after a long hard think I have taken.
I know I am lucky that they found it early, I was also told by BC nurse "that some women don't get their first Mammograms until they are 53, by then it would have been too late for me"
Like you I constantly torture myself with questions, my biggest worry once I knew I had it was what was it doing?
I have also come to the conclusion that sometimes they don't "hit" you with everything, because emotionally we would not cope, I think they give it to you in little "Bite Size" stages when we can handle it, this is just my opinion. It's a bit like climbing a mountain when you have got to what you think is the peak, there is another peak in the distance.
Good Luck with your treatment
I found a lump and had mammograms and ultrasound, nothing showed up but the lump was obvious to the touch. Fine needle aspiration was inconclusive and the consultant told me to stop HRT and go back in 8 weeks. I later had more ultrasound which again showed nothing so had core biopses done which came back positive for lobular cancer. I then paid for MRI scan to check other breast which was as clear as far as they could tell. Had mastectomy and immediate recon. with LD muscle and the tumour was 4.8cm I have no idea how long it had been growing, as lobular cancer is difficult to detect but is slow growing. Ductal cancers vary in grade and some can be very agressive. The radiotherapy can vary in doses, sometimes they give lower doses over a longer period. I am going to have 25 sessions over 5 weeks because of the recon. although I do not have an implant.
You should talk to the oncologist and clear up all the queries, I have a list for when I go!
I had a mammogram in June 2006 all clear then in April 2007 I discovered a small lump which within 2 weeks was 5cm. had Lumpectomy and within another 2 weeks had two new lumps in same place both 5cm. each plus 21 of 24 nodes affected. I am Her---. Had TAC chemo but only 15 rads despite widespread node and tissue involvement. I was told my Cancer was extremely agressive and large celled. I guess we are all different as I had every test going for Cancer in the Summer of 2006 (due to an autoimmune condition linked to C.) and no trace was found so mine appeared very quickly.
On dx I was told I had a very slow growing 1cm tumour which had probably been there for two+ years.I wasn't happy with this as it had appeared from out of nowhere and to me seemed to be growing! Infact after the biopsy it put on a spurt! When I mentioned this I was told that because I now knew it was BC my nerves were playing tricks! After my op, which due to Christmas was nearly four weeks later, I was told the tumour was 2.4cm and extremely fast growing triple neg .I was also told how lucky I was that it had only spread to my lymph nodes!!!
Thank you all for your responses. I have found them most illuminating and interesting. My tumour was missed on mammogram so I really wanted to know how long it had been there - the oncologist just gave me the usual vague answer of ' a few months '. I felt instinctively this was not so!
I think the problem with mammograms too is that it's a ' one size fits all ' policy. I only found out later that there are a number of reasons why they are difficult to read - small breasts, previous surgery to breast eg. Both of these apply to me and in fact at my last mammogram which missed the cancer the first radiologist could not manage to X-ray the breast and had to fetch a colleague who claimed to have succeeded. I feel that at that point I should have been referred for an ultrasound check. Oh, the benefit of hindsight! Or at least warned to be extra vigilant!
Thanks Debbie for that info on radiotherapy. I think I am just neurotic but only have 4 sessions of 15 to go and not a mark on me - no redness, no soreness, no tiredness to speak of. Of course this makes me think it's not working!
Like you I shall not be relying on mammograms in future but will insist on further checks.
I do wish you all well - I have found this site such a support. Thanks again!
My lump emerged and grew very quickly, I found a small thickening on a thursday night which had changed to a definite small lump by the saturday, urgent GP appt on the monday and urgent referral to BC 8 days later 18.10.05 again confirmed by consultant but nothing on the mammo, 3 FNA inconclusive called back 2 days later for US. this was also inconclusive but able to measure a blackhole at 2cm. 4 weeks later same blackhole now 4cm so 3 core biopsies taken, 13.12.05 results finally through and emergency surgery booked 21.12.05 - final measurement 8cm tumour + 15/20 nodes. grade2 and ER+ PR+ and her2++ borderline.
My consultant was very shocked at the quickness of growth (it was visible to the eye and I had to buy a different bra) once path report back with full picture said that he guessed I had probably had breast cancer in me for years, I was 37 when diagnosed with no family history.
I have met 2 other ladies with large tumours but that was how they were found on routine mammo's and they had no idea how long they had them, they both had clear nodes.
I had 25 sessions of rads to 3 areas, but remember being told this was also to do with me wanting recon and its supposed to be kinder on the skin.
Re mammo's I have no faith what so ever, had my 2 year check recently and again asked what was the point in being referred for a mammo and again same old reply they are 80% reliable, however every time I have a check up with either BC, ONC or PS and they have been very regular over the last 2 years I have a very thorourgh examination of armpits, boob, collarbone, neck and liver, so perhaps they also have their doubts.
So many lumps don't show up on mammograms..I had 4 or 5 mammograms in the 4 or 5 years before my diagnosis..all they did was lull me into a false sense of security. So many cancerous lumps don't show up because of dense breast tissue. We need to approach screening with an open mind..it is not infallible.
I had 3 yrly normal mammos from 50 yrs, on the NHS (bad decision, should have gone privately yearly as most of my younger friends do) and my friends in the USa have to do them a s a condition of their private medial insurance) and the 3rd one showed a 2 cm mass. It was not palpable.
I could kick myself now for not having yearly private mammos, but hindsight is a great thing. My cancer had spread to the lymph nodes by the time I had a lumpectomy and 8 sample nodes removed. I had to go back for total axillary removal and another node was cancerous. I was in absolute shock that this could have happened to me when I had the NHS prescribed 3 yrly mammos. I now believe, without evidence, that if I had had annual mammos, my cancer would not have progressed that far, but nothing I can do about it now, except to say, have annual private mammos.
I don't know the answer to your question, and I guess, most bc surgeons don't - all I believe in now, is have annual mammos, and if there is a problem, it can be caught early. I am mad that I went 3 yrs between mammos and my cancer had spread, yet I did all the NHS said we should do.
Food for thought to all of us?
My consultant told me that, as a rule of thumb, grade 1 cancers can take up to 10 years before they can be felt as a lump. grade 2 5 years and grade 3 6 to 9 months.
I was grade 3 and from the point I thought something was not right with my breast (thickening of the skin) to diagnosis when I could feel 2 lumps( my tumour was H shaped like the Honda sign) was only 5 weeks. It was 4cm when I had my original biopsy and 8 days later when I had futher ultrasound almost 5 cm at the widest. I am Her2+++
I found a lump in Aug 07, it was really indiscernible at that time. By the time I had a biopsy at the end of Oct it had grown enough to be identifiable by sight, let alone touch. I guess that's how I knew it was bad 😞
My tumour was missed on the triple assessment as it was hidden under the fibroid I had removed. I asked my surgeon how long he thought it had been there and he said only about 6 months. I am Her 2+ and asked an Oncology Professor I know about this. He told me the gene had probably mutated when I was about 35, 10 years before diagnosis and it would have taken that length of time to become a small tumour, after which it becomes aggressive and spreads quickly. I have also read that the thing which causes Her2+ cancers is caused by something that should have switched off in your body at the age of 28.
The oncologists told me it measured 33mm when it was removed.
Now I have just about finished my treatment I find myself wondering about all sorts - for example how fast do tumours grow? Not all at the same rate, I guess.
Also did the fact that I had previous surgery for a polyp ( or was it a similar name -- a classic case of not getting full explanation at the time, just a 'don't worry, it's not cancer ) predispose me to develop cancer - it was in precisely the same area.
I am just having 15 sessions of radiotherapy - thank goodness - how do they decide? Are some types of cancer more difficult to zap?
Wish I could just be glad it's over for the moment instead of tormenting myself with questions!.