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to want a 2nd opinion on a breast lump?

(92 Posts)
MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:12:21

Went to one stop breast clinic a week ago about a breast lump and pain. Was examined and had ultrasound.

Sonographer couldn't see anything (couldn't even find lump - kept asking where it was and I tried to show him but tricky when lying down). I didn't realise but they don't scan entire breast - just areas & around where you can feel lump.

Doctor was lovely & reassuring, said all fine & breast tissue per scan all normal. I did ask "what could the lump be?", reply was 'maybe an enlarged milk duct'. I was so relieved that I skipped out of clinic happy.

Fast forward a few days.... still feeling the lump, still wondering what actually it is and still wondering why it wasn't seen on the ultrasound. I've rung the breast clinic and a very nice lady said she'll post all my reports to me (I thought I might stop stressing if I read that).

AIBU to want to know (a) what exactly the lump is and (b) to be feeling still slightly nervous about the lump? Should i just accept that all is fine (I', 38 by the way, have breastfed 3 kids heavily from the boob in question - it was like a dummy for my 3rd child shock).

winniewigs Mon 20-Feb-17 13:17:15

Get a second opinion if you're worried. Better safe than sorry.

xStefx Mon 20-Feb-17 13:20:14

Go and get it checked out. I was an absolute mess over a lump I found under my arm a few months ago. I had a private scan because the doctor said he wasnt worried, turns out it was a fibroid or something (its still there now) and is nothing to worry about. But I can imagine how you feel x

Grilledaubergines Mon 20-Feb-17 13:23:46

If you're not settled then definitely get a second opinion. Boobs do have natural tissue lumps, particularly if they're large. But you know your own breasts and anything which feels new or different needs investigating.

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:25:27

Thanks - I've telephoned a private clinic (the consultant who would see me is a top breast surgeon, also works in NHS but slightly different region to me). It would cost around £800 for a one stop assessment there, but i think the cost would be worth it EVEN if he just said "yes the original clinic was correct, don't worry".

I think its the lack of info re: what the lump actually is that concerns me. Hence why I've got my full report coming. I wonder if sometimes HCPs just reassure but don't give all the info as they don't deem it necessary. Its actually concerned me more!! Arghh!

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:27:34

Private clinic did tell me that I was entitled to ask for an NHS second opinion before I go down private route... I just don't want to be annoying/ seem like a neurotic prat. I figured if I pay, then i'm not inconveniencing anyone as I'm paying for the service hmm

savagehk Mon 20-Feb-17 13:28:35

Did the doctor find the lump when you were examined too? I'd be tempted for another check.

PatMullins Mon 20-Feb-17 13:30:43

I'm in the same boat OP, its very stressful isn't it sad

In my case I have a lump (they think a cyst) which can be felt and seen, but I can now feel more and have pain throughout and it's now reached my armpit. I've been waiting for a breast clinic appointment since December.

I hope you're ok. If you can afford £800 I'd just go for it.

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:32:11

savagehk I showed her where I could feel the lump - its not palpable when doing 'normal' type breast checks, but when you lift up my breast tissue from the underneath (I'm only DD cup, I'm sounding like i'm huuuuuge!) and press down into the breast from the nipple, there is a definite, defined lump in the tissue. I did start to worry that perhaps Dr didn't feel it after all, but surely if i'd told her that I can feel a lump, she'd be wanting to feel it too??
I'm perplexed as to why it couldnt been seen on Ultrasound. Been kicking myself since last week that I wasnt more on the ball on the day and asked more questions / insisted on more examinations. But I was so nervous, then felt so relieved....

YellowDinosaur Mon 20-Feb-17 13:34:36

I'm a breast surgeon.

By far and away the most common cause for lumps we see in the clinic is normal breast tissue. I always take patients seriously as they know what their breasts feel like normally and if they've noticed a change that needs investigating. However if the lump they've found feels normal on examination and looks normal on uss I'd reassure them and discharge them.

Sounds like the reassure bit didn't happen in your case. Before you spend 800 quid I'd ask for a followup appointment or even explanatory letter along with your results. See if that helps first.

If not and you're happy to pay then by all means all for another opinion

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:35:26

I'm sorry pat, it is indeed stressful. I think once they've ruled out cancer, there isn't really anywhere to go.

I just have in the back of my mind mis-diagnosis - Kylie was famously told all fine, then 3 months later when checked again, it wasn't shock. I'd hate to be back there in a year about the same lump, and it turns out it was something nasty.

£800 is a lot, but I feel its worth it even for peace of mind.

YellowDinosaur Mon 20-Feb-17 13:37:39

By far and away the most common cause for lumps we see in the clinic is normal breast tissue

Should have also said, breasts do change over time and what you can feel changes especially as you gain and lose weight. App or could feel like a lump to a patient to whom it wasn't there before, but look and feel normal to an experienced radiologist and breast surgeon.

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:41:44

Wow thanks yellowdinosaur, very kind of you to post.

My husband has said that it is obviously just 'normal' breast tissue and that they wouldn't be so 'nonchalant' in just sending me off if they really weren't sure. The sonographer was explaining to the nurses (maybe students) in the room with us as he came across 'glandular' tissue (apparently my breast is dense, glandular). I was just surprised that he couldn't see the lump (although if its normal tissue, I guess it doesn't show up as any dark patch).

I know I need to await my results in the post, plus I was told I could call back and speak to a breast care nurse. The clinic is excellent, the staff were brilliant, i'm more annoyed with myself that I didn't ask more at the time.

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:43:48

Plus i've no idea if its a new lump or not - I only felt it for the first time in January because i'd been having stabbing pains in my left nipple for several months (which have now subsided after taking a lot of evening primrose oil). But that led me to have a good old prod and poke and hence find the lump.

Maverickismywingman Mon 20-Feb-17 13:44:08

Just want to add that not everything shows up under ultrasound (and somethings don't show up under xray). Generally it's to do with whatever said lump is made up of.
Sometimes normal breast and ductual tissue can feel lumpy. And may continue to feel that way.
But I can see why you may want a second opinion.

MajorClanger123 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:52:54

I think it was the 'oh its maybe an enlarged milk duct' that has stuck with me. Either it is, or it isn't.

Am I being too persistent in wanting to know exactly? Plus I'm aware that breast cancer can start in the ducts.....

pimmsy Tue 21-Feb-17 02:42:19

My suggestion might be a really awful one or totally inappropriate so Ill just say sorry before hand if it appears insensitive.

I am english and live in Paris and am covered by social security here. My sister is also english and lives in Switzerland and has no adresse here and no social security. She pops over to Paris sometimes to see doctors because it is cheaper and faster.

Anyhow, this is perhaps my inappropriate thought

If you do have 800 pounds to spare
A private mammography is 66,42 € in France. You don't have to be registered with a doctor and can self refer. GP is 23 euros and gyn is about 80€ if you want to be able to see one quickly.
There are websites where you can book appointements online.
So if you did GP, mammo, gyn it would cost 170euros. 600 would get you eurostar and a nice hotel + a trip to Paris.

EmeraldScorn Tue 21-Feb-17 03:09:35

I'd definitely opt for a second opinion if I was you, there's no harm in being careful and "so fuck" if any doctor thinks you're a "neurotic prat", they are well rewarded for the job!

My sister had breast cancer (not to scare you) and she really had to fight to get diagnosed, she was initially palmed off entirely before being told that her upper/under arm pain was due to nerve damage but no one had an explanation for the lump in her breast - She was "too young" apparently for breast cancer and "breast cancer doesn't present with pain" according to our GP, so it took months for her to be referred because of the GP's dismissive attitude.

It makes me so angry and mistrusting of doctors now; Put your mind at ease and get the second opinion.

Best wishes.

MajorClanger123 Tue 21-Feb-17 07:18:44

Ha pimmsy I do like your idea! Funnily enough my in laws live in France and really rate the health care that they have received over there.

emerald I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. Thing is, I have already been referred - GP happily did that very quickly. It's the actual breast clinic diagnosis I wanted a second opinion of. They were all lovely and reassuring but perhaps didn't quite give me enough info e.g. What the lump actually is. Im waiting for my full notes from the clinic then will decide whether to ask them again or go private for a totally new opinion.

TheDowagerCuntess Tue 21-Feb-17 08:01:06

Gosh, Major - I totally sympathise.

I went to the GP with pain in my left breast, and she did an examination. She could feel a lump (I hadn't felt anything myself), so referred me for a mammogram and US.

They told me it was just a cyst. I'm due to go for another mammogram a year after that one, but I still worry about the pain.

I have a family history of breast cancer, and worry that I'm being too complacent. On the other hand, I probably am worrying about nothing.

MajorClanger123 Tue 21-Feb-17 09:30:02

Have you tried taking evening primrose thedowager? I now take 3 capsules a day and the stabbing pain and general breast pain is pretty much gone. Still got the lumpy bit though sad.

I know that I too probably am fine (in fact, its fair to say that the clinic think I am fine), but I can't help wondering if I just got a second opinion, my mind would be more rested - like i'd done pretty much everything I could've done to make sure its not anything serious. If I don't get a second opinion and it did turn out to be something nasty a year down the line, i'd never forgive myself. If I didn't have 3 young kids, i'd probably more relaxed about it and totally accept the clinic's diagnosis but instead i've turned into a neurotic mad woman.

I will await the full report from clinic and take it from there, otherwise I find i'm obsessing about it on an hourly basis. Could you pull forward your check up to 6 months after the first? I can appreciate how a year feels so long for you until next check.

onceyoupop Tue 21-Feb-17 10:18:35

It is horribly stressful to go through this. I had 3 in the space of 18 months and was referred for each. The cost of private scanning in my home city was similar and if biopsy was required, would have been an additional £1200. Fear meant I felt it was worth it. HOWEVER, I researched costs at the next city and saw a specialist at a private clinic (who actually instigated the whole idea of one stop clinics), at a cost of £150. Saw him 2 days after my request. It may be worth widening your search if you can drive a little way.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Tue 21-Feb-17 10:40:31

Was it that they looked at the "lump" area fully and only saw normal breast tissue - so what you felt is normal breast tissue, maybe a duct, maybe other tissue, they don't know exactly which part you felt, but definitely nothing else there.

Or you worry that the sonographer may have not scanned exactly where you felt the lump, so she saw normal tissue but you worry there is something else a few cm deeper/ to the left etc?

The letter from the clinic may answer your concerns. If not I think it is reasonable to ask if they can see you again to discuss your results, and whether they think another scan is indicated. If you aren't reassured after that you could request a copy of your notes and see someone privately.

I wouldn't go overseas for this. Firstly you need an ultrasound not a mammogram. Secondly some conditions can be managed differently in different countries. So if the French Breast Surgeon says "I think it's harmless but i think you need regular monitoring scans" and the uk breast surgeon says "no need for that, we don't think this requires any monitoring", you are going to be more worried not less. If you are going to see somebody private I would see someone in the uk who is familiar with the medical system you would be using for any treatment.

MajorClanger123 Tue 21-Feb-17 10:42:36

Thanks once - I will widen my search area, there are a couple of other large towns about 25 miles away that I can investigate if need be. I think the £800 included biopsy if required, so I didn't think it was too bad, and the lady I spoke to at the private clinic did say that she could break down the costs and that I might only need to see Consultant and have a scan and so no point paying for biopsy included in the £800 too.

MajorClanger123 Tue 21-Feb-17 10:51:09

Yes you're right hopelessly, I don't think I would consider going abroad - it would add a whole load more worry & confusion to the situation!

My worry is that the sonographer didnt look at the 'lump' area fully - he kept asking me where I felt the lump and did I think it had gotten smaller recently (er, nope). I tried to show him but I was pointing to the right of my left nipple, and actually, thinking about how I can find the lump, I think its in the lower half of my breast and i'm not sure he scanned that low. I didn't appreciate that they only scan in the area of the lump. He didn't touch the outer area of my breast at all.

My rational head thinks that your first sentence is what has likely happened (my husband being my rational voice!) - its normal breast tissue and all looks fine. My irrational head is saying 'did they actually feel the lump / scan in the right place', and why couldn't they tell me what the lump was / will it go away etc.

Sigh. Am awaiting my notes from clinic - am desperately hoping all will become clear & I'll stop stressing. Hopefully they'll arrive today / tomorrow so I will update again.

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