I am 43 y/o with a lump on my left breast. I had a mammo and ultrasound today. The radiologist stated that the tumor was more than 2.5 cm, no fluid and no defined margins--and that he "strongly suspected" the tumor was concernous. I had a mammo 12 months ago which was normal and no family history. I won't be able to schedule a biopsy until next week (of course it is Friday!).
I was wondering if ultrasounds are very accurate as far as distinguishing between cancerous and benign tumors? Is it unusual to have such a fast growing tumor--does the rate of growth give some insight into cancer vs. benign? I have read that 80% of biopsies come back benign, would I still be in this category, or is it different since the radiologist suspects cancer?
Has anyone experienced a similar situation? I am also dealing with a son who was seriously injured in Iraq, and I am feeling overwhelmed. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Hi - I am not a medic, but am willing to share my own experience. I was 58 yrs old and went for the normal 3 yrly mammo we get in England. I had no reason to feel suspicious - no lumps, cysts, just occasional pain down my right arm, armpit to wrist, like electrical impulses. Kind of came and went. The mammo was "suspicious" and I was recalled to a Breast Care Centre of Excellence. This took 2 months, as my notes got lost, then confused with another lady of same name, and Christmas and New Year's was in between.
I asked to see the original mammo, so I could check my name and date of birth were correct - the radiographer put it up on a light box, and I suddenly just knew I had cancer. The lump was dark and "spiculated", with edges like a sunburst. Neither she nor I said anything. She did a compression mammo, asked me to get dressed and go into the waiting room, where my husband was patiently sitting.
Then, a breast care nurse came to the waiting room and asked my husband and I to go with her. Shown into a tiny room, where I had an ultrasound. The female Director of the clinic was called in to do another ultrasound, and then asked for permission to do a biopsy. Sure, if there is a problem, my attitude is:"let's fix it". She made sure my husband and I looked at the tumour on the u/s screen. Told to get dressed again, and taken to a private office where we were given tea in bone china cups - and this is our socialised medicine, where you are lucky to even find a drinks machine. That is when we knew something was definitely wrong. The Director of the Clinic and the breast care nurse talked us through options of mastectomy without rads, lumpectomy with rads and never used the word cancer once. We were left in no doubt though. It was shattering.
Breast care radiologists must have seen thousands of mammos and I believe they do know when a tumour is suspicious of cancer, and not a cyst, or dense tissue. By definition, if they are unable to aspirate the tumour, it needs further investigation.
My tumour turned out to be a 2 cm invasive ductal one, with associated DCIS, both cribriform and comedo, the latter I only found out when I asked for a copy of my pathology report, after the first surgery.Neither the surgeon nor Oncologist told me I ad this as well. I had to go back for further surgery to have all my axillary lymph nodes removed, as of the 8 taken at the lumpectomy, 3 were cancerous. I only had one more cancerous, but glad they got it all out. The next shock (and every visit seemed to be one) was that I needed chemo, which had never been mentioned. Perhaps the docs don't want to frighten you, when you are already in a state of terror!
That was in 2003 - a bad year, but I am now doing well, with no recurrence and currently taking Arimidex to prevent a recurrence (you have to be post-menopausal to have this latest drug, otherwise Tamoxifen is given for 5 years).
I also have Crohn's pretty badly - since I was 24 yrs, now 62 yrs and must say that Crohn's has been more difficult to deal with and control than breast cancer. I am now on permanent chemo (methotrexate) for Crohn's, which I inject once a week and this has made a significant difference to my life. The two diseases are not connected, although I understand both are caused by a genetic problem. Researchers have just found one of the genes that causes Crohn's, NOD2, but as there is no breast cancer in my immediate family, I have not been tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which cause hereditary bc.
Do ask for a copy of your path report as you need to know your hormonal status - ER/PR and HER2. If you are ER+ you can take one of the forementioned hormonal meds, and if HER2+, Herceptin. I was ER+ (hospital didn't do PR status) and am HER2-, which is a good prognosis.
I don't quite understand why your surgeon is recommending a "breast sparing operation" - I thought that was a lumpectomy - called a WLE (Wide Local Excision here). Perhaps the lumpectomy did not get clear margins and the surgeon needs to go back and resect more tissue.
I apologise if I have overloaded you with too much information, but when I was dx I didn't even think to get on the internet and was so very naive. I really only started to learn about the different types of breast cancer when I finished chemotherapy, and am still learning.
If you want to "talk" privately, my e-mail is: ***@**** and I will be happy to answer any questions that I have knowledge or experience of.
Yes, radiologists can get a pretty good idea from an ultrasound if the mass is solid(likely to be cancerous) or cystic. If it was read as "suspicious" then it needs to be taken seriously. Even if a needle biopy comes back negative, i wouldnt be satisfied till the lump is completely removed as needle biopsies can rarely miss the area of cancer inside the mass.
hi recently i went through the same ordeal. iwas dignosed with complex mass in my breast and was highly suggestive of cancer as reported by radiologists (Birad 5). I am just 33. we had 3 mo of sleepless nights. finally the breast biopsy was done and reported as fibrocystic disease.
if ur mass moves freely or if moves with breast tissue and not associated with breast changes, its most likely to be benign.
its also unlikely that a 2.5 cm mass will go unnoticed for a long time.
Nowadays radiologist play a safe role and err on the side of caution due to legal issues, so they actually pass the responsibilty to the surgeon to commit for a biopsy.
so please relax, pray and hope for the best. every 4 out of 5 biopsies are benign in USA.
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