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Sunday, July 05, 2009 jeannemh, Community Member, asks

Q: I found small lump... doesn't show up on diagnostic mamo or ultrasound?

I am 51.  I found a small .. really small, something like the size of the head of a straight pin lump in my right breast.  I pannicked.. went to my OB.  He couldn't find it until I pointed it out.  He said he doens't think it's anything, but said he wants to follow up due to my age.  He sent me for a dianogsitc mammogram and ultrasound.  Both showed nothing.  Not even something that they had to investigate.. showed nothing.  Since it was diagnositic I spoke to the radiologist who read the images, and she said my breasts were easy to read.. and she saw absolutely nothing abnomral in the place of concern or anywhere else on the breast.  Compare the fillms to my films from 2005,2006,2007.  Said she geussed this was good news and not good news.. good news meaning the see noting.. bad new meaning it would be nice if they saw something and confirmed it was nothing.  She also commented that it's probably too small to biopsy?  Is that true? So my OB called with the results.. which I already know, so I asked what could we be feeling that doesn't show up.  He said normal breast tissue.. fatty tissue.  He has recommdended I got see a surgeon/specialist to confirm exactly what this is is or isn't.  Becuase these surgeons are so busy, and especially when you say your films are nomral, they try to schedule you out months as if it's nothing.    After many panic phone calls, I now actually scheduled three appoints with three different spedcialts all about a week aprt from the other.  I have read so many stories on the web, of missed cancer, that I want to make sure that I am comfortable with what the surgeon tells me.  If the frist doesn't satisfy me, I will see the 2nd, and so on and so forth.   My question here is, just what could it be that I'm feeling that doesn't show up?  It's so small.. pin head like I said, sort of like 6 o'clock under the aerola area.  Have to look realy hard to find it.   I tell my friends it feels like the size of say a normal sized white-head pimple i had on my face when I was 16.  It is so small, but it feels perfectaly round.. but too small to tell if it's hard.. soft.. movable, etc.

 

I realize that searching the web is a dangerous and scary task, as we don't really tend hear to good stories, people tend to write about the not-so-good stories.  So what should I ask these specialists.. any specific questions anyone can think of? 

 

I trust my OB, but I do not know these surgeons.. so bascially until they gain my trust, then I do not trust anything they tell me.  I have to go in with the idea that I am my own advocate.


My original thought was to demand an MRI, and a biopsy, but if he can feel it should I just demand it be taken out and not worry about teh MRI.  I dont' want it in there no matter what it is? Any thougths would be greatly appreciated.. I haven't slept in a week.. this is awful.   What could we be feeling that doesn't show up anywhere?

 

My fear is they are going to say.. ok, you are fine go home, and lets watch it.  This is not going to happen..I'm 51.. I will not survive the stress.   

 

thank you.

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Answers (2)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/ 5/09 3:53pm

Jeanne, this could be a blocked milk duct, fatty tissue (as they said), a tiny fibroadenoma (benign breast tumor) - any number of things, the least likely of which is probably breast cancer. You're clearly incredibly stressed; I'd tell the first surgeon that you don't care what it is, you want it removed and biopsied. Make sure you know what you're getting into insurance-wise, though; insurance may consider this elective surgery, and not cover it. Although, being that tiny, it could bprobably be removed via a core biopsy, which doesn't need anesthesia and thus would be less expensive and less invasive.

 

In the meantime - please try to de-stress. Breast cancer is so slow-growing; so even if that's what it is (and as I said, the chances are minimal), taking a month or more to identify this isn't going to make a difference. Good luck - PJH

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jeannemh, Community Member
7/ 5/09 4:55pm

Thanks for the response.  I'm curious why you say blocked milk duct?  I'm 51.. full menepause.. I would think that wasn't a possibility?  Perhaps I'm being niave?

 

I'm not too concered about the insurance, my mother died of cancer, and in that three year battle, I learned that correct wording and persistance was usually a gurantee of coverage.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/ 5/09 5:07pm

Hi - Your milk ducts don't have to be active to become blocked; they can simply incur a very minor infection and become swelled. And I'm glad you've got insurance coverage figured out - that'll definitely make things easier. You also sound like you know how to advocate for yourself - so you should be all set. Don't let them talk you out of this - tell them you're way too stressed to wait, it's your body, and that's your decision. Good luck - PJH

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jeannemh, Community Member
7/ 5/09 5:58pm

Thanks for the comments.  I guess my big question still would be what is this lump that doesn't show up on mammogram or ultrasound.  All the things you suggested.. based on my research typically show up on mammogram and/or ultrasound.  So my guestion to my OB which doesn't really get asnwered, is still my question, and will be my main question to the surgeons.   

 

Unforutnately I can't find anything on the web (scary place) that says anything other than horror stories of what a lump is that doesn't show up! Stay away from the web I guess.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/ 5/09 6:49pm

Actually, yes, I'd stay away frm the Web for the time being, if I were you. In fact, I'd stay away from any research at all. You have your three appointments coming up. Till then, there's nothing you can do except worry - if you permit yourself to do so. Worry does absolutely nothing but make you feel bad; so why would you want to open yourself to that negative emotion? The one freedom we all have, guaranteed, is our ability to choose our attitude about any situation. How about if you choose to let go, try to relax, and think positively? You might feel a whole lot better than you would scouring the Web for info., info. that's scary and (often) just plain wrong... Worth a try, right? Good luck - PJH

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Moj, Community Member
7/27/10 7:05pm

Do you drink a lot of caffeine? That could be why also..It happend to me

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By jeannemh, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/27/10, First Published: 07/05/09