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Called back after found clear of breast cancer. What's going on?(13 Posts)
In midst of major stressful life events going on, I found a lump in my breast. 3 week wait for hospital appointment. They did full breast examination, a mammogram and an ultrasound. The mammogram and ultrasound man said everything was clear - it was just a cyst. I was obviously v relieved, but when it was my turn to go back in to see the consultant, she said that she had felt some lumps (not the one I felt) and it was just possible that this was a type of cancer that doesn't show up on mammogram or ultrasound, though was probably just the way my breast was. So she did 3 biopsies. Went back a week later, and was told to take my top off again, which made me think it was bad news. But apparently the biopsies were clear and everything was totally fine. Now, several weeks later, I've had a call from the consultant's secretary saying they need me in next week for a "review".
What the hell is going on? I think it must mean they've picked up a mistake that's been made, and I do in fact have breast cancer. Has this happened to anyone else? Is there any other possible interpretation of this?
They said a review, so I guess that means just that? Perhaps they want to check the lumps you had for any changes? I don't know if that is the norm or not but many others here have experience in this area.
I think the chances of a mistake having happened is extremely tiny but I understand your fear. Give them a call tomorrow and tell them you are worried
I just don't get why you would normally have a review out of the blue and at short notice and several weeks after a completely clear diagnosis. Yes, very worried.
My Mum has cysts in her breast tissue- they can change and a couple needed draining. Perhaps this is what they want to check. Try not to jump to the worst conclusion, OP.
I phoned the consultant's secretary today and she said that the breast surgeon I saw last time is new, and has now asked for a second opinion. This is freaking me out somewhat. Surely a qualified breast surgeon should be able to interpret a biopsy result?
Breast Cancer Care have a free helpline which is manned by specialist nurses who would be happy to chat to you. The number is 0808 800 6000 and they're open until 5pm.
I don't know what sort of cancer creates lumps that can't be seen by a mammogram or ultrasound?? She shouldn't be speculating in front of you and saying such things without any clear proof or way of proving it. That sounds very unprofessional. Was the consultant you saw very young?
They never mention that you could have cancer without first having absolutely confirmed it by all possible tests. They are very careful not to even use that word unless it is strictly necessary because they know how worried people are.
As you said the ultrasound and mammogram people (very experienced) said it looked okay to them. The mammogram and ultrasound pick up the very tiniest traces of any kind of shadow or dot before it becomes a lump, that's the whole idea.
The biopsy examination was done by the lab scientists (very experienced), not the consultant and they were clear.
It could be a personnel issue with the hospital. Sounds to me like possibly the hospital have asked that a more senior person review all her cases. The secretary certainly won't be telling you the truth as in 'oh this lady has been saying all sorts to people and we have had complaints about her'. The hospital could be getting all her cases back in to cover their arses.
All your previous diagnostic tests done by other people have given you clear results. I would take a lot of reassurance from that.
A new consultant feeling your lumps and bumps and making a half-assed speculative assessment about it...hmmm. The reason they have mammograms and ultrasounds is because you can't assess what the lumps from feeling them - not even the consultants who are there 30 years can do that from feeling them.
It's a shit feeling I know. When is the appointment?
mid next week. thanks.
But actually it was the consultant who did the breast exam, and after being told the scan results were clear called me back in. She told me that approx. 1 percent of breast cancers they diagnose are of a kind that can't be picked up by a mammogram or ultrasound, and she wanted to do a biopsy (actually did 3) to test for that kind of cancer.
Then it was the different doctor, who said she was a breast surgeon, who gave me the results of the biopsies, and has supposedly now asked the original consultant to give me a 2nd opinion.
The whole process is v stressful, especially as majorly stressful other stuff is going on at the moment. I found that after 2 or 3 weeks of waiting for the hospital appointment to check the original lump, I was feeling every physical sensation in that breast, times 20, so I FELT that I had breast cancer, even though knew it might well not be that. Then getting the all clear and an hour later being told you might have cancer in a different part of the breast! And then the all clear again, and now having to go back.
Some of them like to be sure, to be sure, to be sure. It took ultrasound, mammogram, two fine needle aspirated, a punch biopsy and finally an excisional biopsy before my consultant was content that his gut feeling that it was not cancer was proved.
Thanks Lonecat. I can obviously see the benefit to that kind of approach, but it is majorly stressful!
I saw the doctor about a breast lump several years ago and even though she was confident it wasn't cancer I still had an (inconclusive) ultrasound and a fine needle aspiration before they confirmed it was ok. I think they're just being thorough.
So from what you've said the surgeon wants a second opinion on the other lumps they felt? Is that correct? Really try not to worry too much, there might be lots of reasons for it as people have suggested above. I think people who get cysts tend to get more cysts, so if you've already had one it may be that these other lumps are cysts too.
sadie9, just to pick up on a few points in your post. Clinical examination (i.e. a doctor examining your breasts) is a very good diagnostic test - the reason this isn't used in screening is just because of the practicalities involved, not because it's less accurate than a mammogram. Additionally, it is entirely possible for a cancer to not show up on a mammogram or ultrasound or to not be felt in a clinical examination. That's why all three examinations are carried out, because (pretty much) every cancer will show up on one of those tests
Well, it turned out to be that doctor 2 had decided that I ought to have a biopsy of the original cyst (which doctor 1 wasn't worried about). So I was called back in for yet another biopsy. They were very apologetic about the call back. Fingers crossed the biopsy result is ok.
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