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Found a breast lump & trying to stay calm... Update: Cancer.

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
I found a lump... or more like a ball really, like a large rubber marble, right beside/below my nipple. I've been having a lot of mild breast pain on & off and finally felt around and noticed the lump. I know I'm supposed to do breast exams regularly but I don't, for personal reasons, so I really don't know if it's been there a long time or not.

I am close to ovulation.

I haven't really nursed in about 6 months... DS latches on every once in a while (like once every 10-20 days) but only for a second or two, so I guess you could say he is weaned, so I doubt it is a plugged duct or anything.

I have a dr.'s appt. in 2 weeks anyway so I was thinking I could just bring it up then if it hasn't disappeared. Is 2 weeks too long to wait??? This is also a new dr. that I will be seeing so I'm not sure if I will be comfortable allowing him to do an exam... *sigh*

My grandmother had breast cancer in her 20's. So I'm trying not to freak out but it's hard (and complicated by an INCREDIBLY stressful week this past week).
post #2 of 62

Some bumps and lumps are normal. Others are not. Please don't ignore it and hope it will go away. Call your doctor and tell them you've found a lump. Ask them if you should be seen sooner than your appointment. With a family history of early breast cancer I would not be hedging my bets. It's much better to know sooner rather than later. And the relief you will feel if it does turn out to be not cancer will make your life a lot less stressful.

post #3 of 62

Personally, I wouldnt wait two weeks if I were you. All that's going to do is make you anxious, and Im sure they can get you in earlier.

 

I do breast exams monthly, and I have found two lumps. They were gone within a few weeks. 

 

While breastfeed by no means makes you exempt from the risk of getting breast cancer, extended breast feeding does lower the risk

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/reproductive-history

post #4 of 62

I agree, with that family history, to go in sooner rather than later.

post #5 of 62

oh wait, it's been 2 weeks. Have you already been to the doctor?

post #6 of 62
Thread Starter 
I did finally go yesterday. Doc wants to take a wait & see approach for now.
post #7 of 62

WHAT?!?!   WTH is the "wait and see" approach with a lump in your breast? Wait and see what? That's totally irresponsible of the doctor, IMO. Not to scare you, but it just seems like to me that if it IS something, "waiting and seeing' is a terrible idea. I would get a second opinion. 

 

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/cancer-breast/853414-biopsy-wait-6-months.html

post #8 of 62
Thread Starter 
Well I don't think he meant wait indefinitely... just 'til after my next AF to see if it goes away on its own or something.

I'm half zen-calm and half totally freaked out, I'll admit...
post #9 of 62
Code:
Hope your lump has subsided...but if not, a work up at a breast clinic is not so bad. If you'd like more info about possible tests and procedures, I'm happy to help!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and have shared my story here:  www.Breastfeedingandbreastcancer.blogspot.com

Amy
Mom to ds 2000, dd 2004, dd 2010
post #10 of 62
Thread Starter 
Well 4 months later and the lump is still there. My doc never seemed concerned the few times I mentioned it (I have other health issues and I guess they overshadowed the lump).

The lump does seem to maybe change slightly throughout my cycle? I can't really tell for sure but at times it does seem firmer or smaller or more distinct than at other times but I'm kind of clueless about breast stuff. Also at times I've felt other/different lumpiness throughout my breast/chest on that side but that went away. Basically it just feels like there is a firm grape inside just below the nipple. The pain went away, for the past month or two it has been painless. Now there is kind of an indent in the skin outside where the lump is, it looks weird.

So I'm alternating between "it's nothing" and "oh no it's cancer and DS is going to grow up without a mom!!!!!!!!" I think maybe I need a second opinion since my primary doc seems so unconcerned/uninterested. I don't have an HMO anymore so I can see a specialist or something without a referral but I don't know where to begin or what to ask for. Do I get a mammogram? A consult with someone? A biopsy? Who do I call????
post #11 of 62

Crunchy_Mommy, you need a second opinion. 

 

If the lump has persisted this long, is asymmetric (only in one breast) and has caused changes in your breast's appearance (the indent in the skin), I think it's at a point where it's vital that you get it checked out.

 

The fastest thing would be to call your PCP and say that the lump is still there, that you're noticing exterior changes in the appearance of your breast, and you'd like him to help you schedule a mammogram as soon as humanly possible.  Bug him.  Call now, if you don't hear back by closing, call first thing tomorrow, if you don't hear by noon, call at noon.  Repeat until satisfied.  (My PCP flubbed things when I came in with a lump a year ago, but once they were convinced I needed a mammogram, they were able to get me a next day appointment at the hospital, even though the next day, in my case, was Saturday.  This is why I say this is probably the fastest route.)

 

What will happen next depends very much on where you are.  In an ideal world (specialists on staff), they can put you from mammogram to ultrasound to biopsy in the course of a single visit.  When I had my FNA biopsy, they looked at the samples in the room, and were able to tell me about them right there and then.  If you're not conveniently located to someplace like that, you may find that you need to return for multiple appointments and wait longer for results. 

 

If you don't want to go through your PCP at this point, I don't have definitive recommendations - Xeni Jardin (who wrote about her breast cancer diagnosis a few years back) describes finding a mammogram place on Yelp and scheduling the whole thing herself, so Yelp is a potential resource.  You could call up your health insurance company and ask them to help you find a provider close to you, who is in their network.  You could hit google and run a search for "mammograms" and your city. 

 

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.  If I may offer totally unsolicited advice:  when you go for a mammogram, bring a friend.  Don't make yourself do this alone.  Have trusted childcare at home, that can spend the whole day with your kids, if need be, and someone standing by to hold your hand. 

 

There are a ton of very effective cancer treatments out there now, so cancer is by no means a death sentence.  A lot of the time, breast cancer means you have a bad year, and then you recover.  It's an exceptionally bad year.  But you do recover.

post #12 of 62

I have had a similar lump for years.  It changes size and shape, it's moveable kind of like a bean or something.  Sometimes it throbs and swells up at certain points in my cycle.  The midwife told me it was a hormonal cyst and nothing to worry about. Mine is also just below the nipple. 

 

I had a permanent lump on the side of my breast near my arm pit that never changed size or shape and didn't hurt that they found concerning.  The breast clinic did an ultrasound on it and she said it was a harmless gland.  

post #13 of 62
post #14 of 62

Another screening option (besides mammography) is Thermography.  This is not a comprehensive list, but there might be one here near you:  http://www.breastthermography.com/find-a-center.htm

 

I agree that finding out sooner than later is better!

post #15 of 62

If breastfeeding they will just do a breast ultrasound first.  The breast clinic told me they don't like to do anything more than that on breastfeeding mothers. I'm not sure if my clinic offered Thermography though.

post #16 of 62
If you're more comfortable with your midwife or obgyn, you could call them. I'd get a referral for an ultrasound with biopsy along with or instead of a mammogram. Certainy seems to need attention. The skin changes are concerning too. Cancer has a way of making us feel very vulnerable and consider our mortality, it's not usually a death sentence. I have a blog showing my experience with breast cancer and breastfeeding. I talk about the multiple tests I had and some of the feelings that go along with all the what ifs. Good luck! Www.breastfeedingandbreastcancer.blogspot.com
post #17 of 62

I don't mean to sound alarming, but you need to get that checked out further. Soon. Like, now.

 

The skin changes you describe are concerning.

 

I found a breast lump 4 months after I had my DD. I was breastfeeding at the time. I thought maybe it had to do with BF'ing and waited a few months. Three months later it was still there. No longer breastfeeding at this point. Saw an MD who immediately scheduled me for a mammogram. I went within days, they saw something, did an ultrasound, and did a biopsy. All in the same day. Biopsy results were inconclusive so surgery was scheduled. I had the surgery and got the pathology results on Christmas Eve. I had a benign (thank god) Phyllodes tumor. They can be malignant. I was lucky. Please get your lump checked out. I am very shocked to hear that your doctor hasn't been more proactive. My doctors did not mess around AT ALL and everything was done quickly. They don't mess around with that stuff. Please get it checked.

post #18 of 62

Ask for mammogram with Ultrasound.

 

Ia m puzzled by your doc.

post #19 of 62
Thread Starter 
OK so I couldn't deal/can't face this but DH took charge and called my doc & he's sending me for an ultrasound. DEEP BREATH...
post #20 of 62
I'm so glad you've got something scheduled.
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