Breast Lump, Biopsy, General Pain

Question

Asked by Eulala

Breast Lump, Biopsy, General Pain

Diagnosed with benign breast tumor. Freehand core needle biopsy.

Tumor started to become painful about a week after my biopsy.

Tumor changed shape after biopsy. Parts that were palpable before no longer are.

Does this mean that my lump was distorted by the biopsy? Is that bad and does it make my pathology less accurate?

Both my breast hurt right now but my right breast KILLS. I'm coming up on my cycle and have been touching my lump often. Is that probably hormonal pain?

Could cancer hurt only with your cycle?

Pathology reads, "benign breast tissue focally showing stromal hyalinization with some changes suggestive of a fibroadenoma-type lesion." --- does that sound legit to you? Would you take that to the bank or would you followup immediately to have the lump removed? I was told to come back in 6 months but that pathology report seems more suggestive than definitive. Doc was reassuring and obviously doesn't want to take this further. But what does "some changes" mean? That's pretty vague and scary given that they are supposed to know what they are looking at. Some changes?

Shortly after discovering my first lump, I began having nightly back/shoulder pain. It has turned into intermittent, relatively frequent shoulder pain. I'm also having phlegm in my mouth that won't expel. Given my extraordinary anxiety over this breast issue, could this be anxiety? I've had the back pain for about 2 months, off and on. The phlegm has been noticeable to me since a little bit before I found my lump but seems more prominent now. Could this be lung mets? I'm a hypochondriac and these pains are scaring me. I'm scared to see a doctor if it's something as serious as lung disease. Pain is usually on the right shoulder. Could touching my very painful breast lump cause radiating pain to my shoulder or other body parts? I can't explain the pain other than that it presented only after finding my lumps. Either I'm a very unfortunate girl or these are somehow connected to my anxiety. If so, why won't it go away... and why does it seem slightly worse?

Thank you for being here to answer questions

Also, can a fibroadenoma be painful AND oblong in shape? We're talking a little less than an inch long but oblong rather than round. My research keeps saying that fibros are round, painless and very moveable. Mine moves but not a lot.

Answer

Hi Eulala - First off, you should know we're not doctors here; just well-informed breast cancer survivors. I'll address your concerns as well as I can.

The fact that the suspicious area became smaller post-biopsy indicates it might have been a cyst, which could have drained a bit. A biopsy wouldn't change the shape of a cancerous tumor measurably, since it just takes a small amount out of the center.

Masses that hurt more as your period approaches wouldn't be cancer; this points to fibroadenomas and cysts, both types of fibrocystic change. Fibroadenomas can be any shape, and are often oblong, or irregularly shaped. And "benign breast tissue focally showing stromal hyalinization with some changes suggestive of a fibroadenoma-type lesion" is another way of saying "scarring in the connective tissue in the breast suggestive of fibroadenoma" - a benign tumor.

Finally, breast cancer is only rarely painful; fibrocystic change is nearly always painful. So, does this all sound "legit"? It does to me, yes. And the possibility of you having lung mets without first identifying and dealing with a primary breast cancer is tiny; also, the symptoms you describe don't sound like lung mets.

It sounds like you've been very stressed by this whole experience; not surprising, given, as you say, you're a hypochondriac. I think your best bet would be to get a second opinion from a breast specialist - not because I think the opinion will differ from your doctor's, but because you sound like you need further reassurance that this isn't cancer. If two doctors concur, do you think that'll help you feel better? If not, then you need to figure out what, if anything, will lower your stress level; and then pursue that course of action. I wish you all the best, and I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time dealing with this. PJH

Answered by PJ Hamel