Right Breast Suddenly Larger?

Question

Asked by trinitybear19

Right Breast Suddenly Larger?

I am 31 years old and 5 mths ago i noticed my right breast had suddenly become much larger than my right (by a cup and 1/2). I went to my pcp and got a mammogram but having dense breasts they had to follow up with an ultrasound. They said i didn't have any cysts but They found a suspicious lump with ultrasound and did a core biopsy where they found it was a fibroadenoma. It measured 1.2 x 1.9 x 1.6. I was referred to a breast specialist. I went to the breast specialist last week and he said it would be impossible for something that small to cause that much swelling. He thought maybe it could be hormonal but it's uncommon to be in just one breast and also because I haven't taken any additional hormones (tubal ligation 5 years ago). Family history of ovarian cancer. He then did a breast exam and said that there is a noticible difference between the two both in size, shape and the way they feel. He then said that there is a possibility of a finger-like cancer that is hard to detect on mammogram or ultrasound. I have scheduled an mri with contrast for June 1st. My question is, could it possibly be hormonal? I can't find anything on hormonal causes in just one side. Also, what cancer was he referring to and why couldn't that be seen on ultrasound? Could it be a cancer that doesn't have the tumor characteristics? I would love to find other possible causes than cancer to temporarily put my mind at ease. Whatever it is, it is causing much discomfort, not pain but the swelling.

Answer

Hi - I'm sorry you're having to go through this. Health challenges, especially when they stem from unknown causes, are very distressing. The good news is, you've done everything right, as have your doctors; when your PCP couldn't determine, via diagnostic tests, what's causing the swelling, s/he sent you to a specialist. And the specialist is obviously on the case, scheduling an MRI. We're not doctors here, and thus can't responsibly offer you any opinions beyond what your doctors have already given; but speaking from experience, I haven't heard of hormonal issues that affect just one breast, beyond the fact that one breast can develop a cyst while the other doesn't - and it sounds like that's already been ruled out. As for the "finger-like" cancer, he might have been referring to lobular cancer, as opposed to the ductal cancer that's more common. It's sometimes harder to detect a discrete mass with lobular. Inflammatory breast cancer causes rather sudden swelling in one breast, but typically comes with a host of other symptoms (redness, heat, pain), which you don't seem to be exhibiting. And it would advance much more quickly than 5 months. Other breast cancers appear more gradually, and wouldn't result in sudden obvious changes. Clearly, this is a difficult diagnosis; but remember, most women with breast issues DON'T have cancer. Best of luck as you continue through the process; I hope they figure out what's going on soon. PJH

Answered by PJ Hamel