I have a 9mm lump in the axillary of my right breast (I'm told it's 9mm, though it feels huge to me). I found it in 2004, and had an FNA where it was determined not to be a fibroadenoma or a cyst. It is solid, and the FNA report said it was benign but atypical. At the time it noted that it was a 4.9mm mass.
By 2007 it had nearly doubled in size to 9mm, and as of my mammogram and ultrasound yesterday (2 years later) it is still just 9mm. The breast surgeon in 2007 said the 4.9mm was probably a typo and the lump actually hadn't ever changed.
Can I just ignore this lump now? I am quite honestly not willing to continue putting up with the horrendous way I am treated every time my gyn feels that it's changed and sends me for an ultrasound. They behave as though they can't even find the mass (it is clearly, unmistakeably palpable to EVERYONE but them.) Yesterday I actually had the ultrasound tech snap at me, "What exactly do you think you're feeling?" Then when she read my gyn's referral that the mass felt larger and seemed to be extending up into my armpit she very rudely told me, "We're talking about someting so tiny. This is 9mm. Do you know how small that is? It's certainly not "extending" anywhere." I felt like I was being reprimanded for wasting their time or something. I was simply following doctor's orders.
Then the radiologist came to the room and said, "It hasn't changed since 2007. It's exactly the same. Exactly. What made you think it had changed?" It's actually degrading to go through this every time. I'm supposed to see the breast surgeon next week, but I feel like it's going to be a huge waste of time to go there and be told, "This little thing? It's probably benign, keep doing your breast checks."
I don't know what I'm feeling in my breast but apparently it's non-worrisome and hasn't grown, and I'm tired of feeling demeaned at followup visits. How should I handle this lump? Does it even need followup?
Dear tiredpoet: In general, a lump that has been stable for at least 2 and probably 5 years is unlikely to be cancer. However, as your doctor is the one who sends you for additional followup, at least one professional is concerned enough to want further evaluation. Since you already have followup planned with the surgeon, it is reasonable to keep the appointment. You might explain to the surgeon what your experience has been and ask if removal would make sense.
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