Obsessed with checking breasts

(24 Posts)
Namech4ng3 Thu 23-Jul-20 15:54:57

Basically what the thread title says - I’m so anxious and worried around checking my breasts. I do it LITERALLY daily, sometimes multiple times a day. My left breast is very lumpy, feels totally different to the right one - had it checked, the consultant at the breast clinic said it was completely normal tissue and the ultrasound showed nothing.

And yet I CANNOT stop stressing recently. Lockdown has absolutely made my health anxiety come out of nowhere, I’m not even worried about Covid!!!! Just terrified of cancer. The consultant said that I would need to worry if I found a lump that felt different to the rest of the tissue - I have two small lumps which I can feel, but they feel the same as multiple different areas of the breast.

It’s just annoying that my left breast is full of ropey, grainy, lumpy, ridge-y tissue sad and I know it’s normal as it’s been scanned but it doesn’t half make me panic. I feel like I just want to get another scan but I have absolutely no reason to worry and waste NHS time.

Does anyone else feel like this? Or have felt like it in the past?

OP’s posts: |
LordOftheRingz Thu 23-Jul-20 17:35:49

I can tell you, if you have had it checked and they say it is ok, then relax unless you know for sure there is a change.

Or you can go through what I am, they have actually found a lump and I am having a series of invasive, painful tests and waiting weeks and weeks for results, trying not to go out of your mind.

Get it checked again if needed, but really don't waste your time obsessing as if it comes to it and you really do have something to crap yourself over then you will feel a fool.

best of luck.

Sisterwives Thu 23-Jul-20 17:40:34

Leave them alone! Check once a month only. You won't be able to assess any differences otherwise.

Fanthorpe Thu 23-Jul-20 17:42:22

You sound as if you’ve become very anxious, can you think what sparked it? Do you have any reason to think you’re at risk?
Can you try and set a time for checking, every other day, just once, then every third day, then weekly.
If you feel compelled to check find a distraction if you can, or learn a mindfulness techniques.
Maybe you need to talk through your concerns.

Tanfastic Thu 23-Jul-20 19:01:58

Op I worry like you, mine has been since my aunt died of breast cancer when she was my age. I have one boob that feels completely different to the other in that it's lumpy, ridgy, tender in areas and more veiny than the other one. I got myself very worked up about this a few years' ago and went to see my gp who examined me and said all normal. I also (because if my anxiety) got a second opinion a few months after from a different gp who examined me and said exactly the same, he spent more time explaining to me why it was normal.

A few things he said spring to mind and have helped my anxiety about the issue over the last couple of years

Contrary to popular belief not all breasts are asymmetrical, one may feel and look a lot different to the other. I always read that if you felt one was different to the other then this was a red flag but apparently not always the case.

He also said that a breast cancer lump would feel almost like a Rock on a sandy beach and would feel prominent under your fingers. You'd be in no doubt it was a "lump" rather than the normal lumps and bumps you feel.

Also never "dig" with your fingers as you will feel lumps and bumps and glandular tissue deep down, even could be your ribs you are feeling . Better to check your boobs with a flat hand and roll across your breasts. I was quite surprised at how gentle the doctors both checked mine. They didn't do it half as hard as I normally did confused.

As others have said, check once a month after your period and try not to do any more than that. You know how your lumpy boob feels so what you need to try and do is figure out if there is anything different to normal from your "normal" if that makes sense.

I am less anxious now than I used to be but I still dread the once monthly breast exam I give myself. I try and do it as quickly as possible and then put it to bed for a month 😂.

Namech4ng3 Thu 23-Jul-20 19:04:36

Thank you all for replying.

I really don't think I have anything to worry about, if I engage my rational brain - I'll do a thorough check and be like, "yep, brilliant, nothing there" and then in two hours I'm like "but what if..." It's like the comfort and reassurance I got from checking only lasts immediately after the check. I'm hesitant to get a doctor to check as I don't really have anything new to ask about since last time and I don't want to use the doctor as a coping mechanism. It isn't fair on the NHS.

@Fanthorpe I have no reason to think I'm at risk - I'm 26 with no family history. I have anxiety anyway and had panic disorder when I was at university a few years ago. I don't class this as anxiety I suppose - more being stuck in a worry cycle, as when I was properly anxious I couldn't eat and was sick all the time. I think lockdown has triggered it, I've had a lot of time alone with my thoughts. I often feel like I get a worry in my head like "oh my god what if I got home and my cat was dead???" and then I can't stop thinking about it and get home to see my cat sitting on the sofa like usual.
Sorry to rant - I've just self-referred for CBT through the NHS. I know this will take a while so I'm planning on starting some mindfulness in the meantime.

OP’s posts: |
Namech4ng3 Thu 23-Jul-20 19:04:47

Christ, sorry for that absolute essay.

OP’s posts: |


Namech4ng3 Thu 23-Jul-20 19:06:57

@Tanfastic I think you posted as I was typing my reply - you are an absolute star. Thank you so much for your message. I literally do dig around so hard that it hurts!! Nothing stands out to me in the breast tissue at all, especially if I do it lightly. I think my problem is much more psychological. Your reply has provided a lot of comfort knowing I'm not alone!

OP’s posts: |
Tanfastic Thu 23-Jul-20 19:24:12

Oh good wink

Not just you op, I suffer from a bit of health anxiety too which can be crippling at times. I try and use distraction. Sounds to me like it's your anxiety that is taking over and there is nothing wrong with your boobs, they are perfectly healthy but you need that constant reassurance.

Sounds like you are doing the right things in terms if trying to tackle your anxiety , as there lies the problem 😊🤞

Namech4ng3 Thu 23-Jul-20 19:27:33

@Tanfastic It's such a pain isn't it, sorry to hear you deal with the same thing. I think writing out my thoughts has made me realise even more that I need to take control of it!

Thank you so much again!

OP’s posts: |
Fanthorpe Thu 23-Jul-20 20:00:16

That’s great news about the CBT, I think that’s going to be helpful.

It’s about finding balance, I hope you find some peace soon.

Redannie118 Thu 23-Jul-20 20:21:13

Im just going through radiotherapy for a lump i found in may. I second @Tanfastic post, mine was so easy to feel you could actually feel it under my pjs ! Digging around is the worst, youll feel all normal lumps and will make yourself sore, which in turn will make you worry more as youll convince yourself thats a sign somethings wrong. Good luck

Namech4ng3 Thu 23-Jul-20 20:45:11

@Redannie118 I’m sorry to hear that! Sending you loads of good wishes for your treatment and recovery. Thank you for your comment - it reassures me even though it’s crap that you have that experience to share.

OP’s posts: |
Tanfastic Thu 23-Jul-20 21:00:29

Thanks redannie,that's a really helpful post.

Daisygibs Sat 05-Dec-20 21:46:00

This message has helped me so much as I’ve got to the point we’re i poke around and end up crying with fear and dread that something is wrong, even if I check and it feels okay! Thanks for sharing the tips your doctor gave you

Daisygibs Sat 05-Dec-20 21:49:35

I feel like I could have written this myself, I’ve experienced 4 deaths of close family members this year and added with Having a baby just before lockdown one has at points made me insane with health anxiety. A few months ago I convinced myself I was really ill because I lost my appetite and had back pain, the dr told me I was just experiencing panic and I felt better until the last few days where I have obsessively checked my boobs, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had checked 60 times just today. While I’m checking them I’m fine then minutes later I have to double check because actually I think I did feel something. It’s brought me to tears today

WitchSharkadder Sat 05-Dec-20 22:00:20

You have classis health anxiety symptoms. I know exactly how you feel, I've been as low as it is possible to be with HA, although it wasn't breast cancer I was obsessed with it was heart disease. I'd check my pulse, blood pressure and oxygen levels dozens of time a day and be absolutely convinced there was something wrong with my heart despite consultants telling me otherwise.

CBT really helped me and for years I was doing great. Covid did start to make me spiral again but as soon as I recognised the signs I re-referred myself straight back to CBT and, after 8 sessions, I'm almost back on track.

Talk to your GP but ask for help with the anxiety, not breast issues. All the best, OP, there's light at the end of the tunnel and I hope you find it very soon.

Carale Fri 12-Mar-21 14:57:09

Hi, I also have this. Last November I noticed a lump in my left breast so I went to the GP who wasn’t concerned but felt I should go to the breast clinic just to double check. I then waited until end of February which felt like the longest wait of my life!! Luckily they did a scan and told me it was just a lobule which was a huge relief but since my appointment I dread having showers because I just can’t help myself to check, It’s like I need to reassure myself all the time! They advised to only check once a month so I’m really trying to put it out of my mind 🙄

Skyliner001 Fri 12-Mar-21 21:02:22

@Carale My experience is the same as yours. So hard to stop worrying after the clinic appointment 😬

KAP232 Sat 13-Mar-21 06:26:53

Hi Ladies,

Wow, reading these is like I have written it myself. I have health anxiety especially around breast cancer. I have no family history but a friend of mine had it at 33 and I think it's effected me more then I thought. I constantly check my breasts sometimes can be 20/30 times a day. Having big boobs they are lumpy anyway so I always feel like I may have missed something.

I was taking a SSRI to help me and have recently decided to change medication to which the health anxiety have come back with vengeance, I had to go to the GP to ask them to check just so I could try and break the cycle. It worked for a day then I went back to checking. I keep trying to tell myself that she would have referred me if there was anything to worry about as she said she would normally refer everyone unless she can be sure there is nothing.

I have referred myself for CBT but who knows how long that will take in the current situation.

Stay strong ladies! We got this x

Nikki360 Thu 25-Mar-21 21:33:25

So glad to have found this post and know I'm not alone. I have ocd and breast issues are my biggest fear. I have gave up checking now as I have recurrent cysts which means I will always find something. I have a family history as well. It's a constant constant battle with my mind. I used to go to the breast clinic and be so reassured however as with all firms of ocd the reassurance goes quickly. I was there this week and am convinced they missed something. It's ridiculous I know but in my mind it's rational. I'm exhausted with it.

KAP232 Thu 25-Mar-21 21:45:07

@Nikki360 hi Nikki, there is a group called
Heatlh anxiety 2, join that, there quite a few
Of us with breast issues x

Nikki360 Fri 26-Mar-21 07:21:11

@KAP232 Thankyou so much I will ☺️

Bad2thebone Fri 26-Mar-21 11:17:42

I have had a really painful left breast and I think it’s because I keep “digging around” I’ve done it that much I think I’ve made myself sore! Which now has petrified me. I’m sorry your having to go through this journey!

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