Three weeks ago I noticed some sudden and concerning skin changes to my left breast. After talking to 111 and a phone appointment with my GP I was referred to the 2WW breast clinic. I was never seen by anyone, nor did my GP even ask for photos. My initial research (looking to see if it might be pregnancy related) into it, had brought up inflammatory breast cancer as an possible cause. Neither clinician I spoke to offered an alternative explanation or any reassurance. At 20 weeks pregnant at the time this made me extremely anxious. I’m aware of the dangers of dr Google, so avoided looking up anything further on inflammatory breast cancer but did try to find an alternative explanation to give myself reassurance. However, the more I looked, the more things pointed to inflammatory breast cancer. Today, I was finally seen at the breast clinic. After a simple breast examination the doctor told me it was ‘not cancer’ and sent me on my way with a recommendation that my GP refer me to a skin specialist for a possible skin infection. I was obviously relieved to hear ‘not cancer’ and left. But now I can’t shake the anxiety. I wish I had asked more questions or pushed for further investigations. The little info I allowed myself to read about inflammatory breast cancer is that it is often not recognised as so rare, often misdiagnosed as an infection and often missed on examinations or imagining. A biopsy would have ruled out cancer giving me full reassurance. Now instead I’ll have to wait weeks (if not longer, it’s the NHS after all) to be seen by a skin specialist. Maybe a skin specialist will be able to treat this possible infection and everything will be ok. But if that’s not the case, then what? It’s possible a very aggressive form of cancer would have been left unchecked for weeks, if not months. I know I should trust the doctor, but I just can’t let go of the anxiety. And I really regret not sharing the full extent of my anxieties at the appointment. I’m now 23 weeks pregnant with my first child and I feel like I can’t enjoy the pregnancy with this hanging over me. And I don’t know what to do about it.
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