New here -- questions re: "cluster cells"

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louieloui
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/21/2005 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I found this board through www.hystersisters.com and am hoping to find some answers from women who may have BTDT.  Some background first:
 
My maternal grandmother had BC that spread and ultimately took her life.  I don't know exactly how old she was, but I believe it was before she was 50 (or not too long after) as I was about 3 yrs. old.  My maternal aunt had BC on two different occasions.  She, thankfully, beat it both times.  Again, not sure of her exact age but she was in her early 30's.  I am 28 yrs. old and have fibrocystic breasts, so it's difficult for me to check for lumps as I always seem to have them.  Recently I had one in each breast that stayed (rather than going away) and so I went to my gen practioner.  With my history, she didn't want to mess around so she ordered a mammogram and u/s. 
 
Today I went in for my tests, had the u/s, the tech seemed to focus on the areas where I had felt the lumps, and went very fast over the rest of my breasts.  She then went and got the radiologist who ONLY focused on the areas that I pointed out and said she did see some "cell clusters" that were "probably benign but warranted being watched...or biopsied."  The radiologist did not check out any other areas of my breast and afterwards I was somewhat surprised...kinda felt like she may have missed more "cell clusters" or anything else that might have thrown up a red flag.  The radiologist also said she wasn't going to do the mammo because of the density of my breasts.  And, once again I wonder if that was a good call given my family history?  I do plan to call my doctor tomorrow but I have a couple of questions for you all.
 
1.)  Would you do the biopsy or wait the 6 mos.?
2.)  Is it normal for the radiologist not to do a more thorough exam and cancel a doctor ordered mammo?
 
~Laura~

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 4/21/2005 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laura-
Glad you found us! Most of us are likely to recommend that biopsy. No sense in waiting, and it could be harmful to wait. Mammograms are not effective tools on young women due to natural density of breast tissue. They simply cannot see anything in a mammogram.... I was diagnosed at 30, and my 2.5 cm tumor was not visible in the mammogram for this reason. My opinion is that you should consult with your doctor and ask for a referral to a breast specialist, perhaps at a university hospital or a cancer center. (Cancer centers usually have breast clinics, where healthy breast issues are seen too, not just cancer).

That's all I can offer for now....good luck!
Lori


MiaB
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 4/21/2005 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laura,
I'm going to echo Lori's comments and tell you that in my case the mammo didn't see my 1.6 cm. lump/tumor because of "fibrous breasts" so an U/S was ordered and carefully scrutinized only on that area. I was diagnosed at 40 and they say that fibrous or dense breasts are usual with young women, it seemed like a nice compliment at the time.
Maybe the radiologist was just thinking why wait for results of a mammo when they saw what they wanted to and probably wouldn't with the mammo.
I agree with Lori that you should do the biopsy.  Most doctors will recommend it or suggest it and in the long run it will give you peace of mind that waiting 6 months certainly will not.  My surgeon did not suggest we wait but I'm sure if pressed for it by the patient they will.  I just wouldn't want to and if you were my sister, daughter or friend I would make you have the biopsy. yeah
 
Please consult a breast specialist and remember 80% of breast lumps are benign.  (Did I get that figure right ladies? I know it's in that range, but my brain is in a fog lately.)  So the odds really are in your favor.
 
Good luck and keep us informed.  I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
 
Hugs,


Mia
 
Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.


-Vesta M. Kelly


postal2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1106
   Posted 4/21/2005 8:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laura, Lori is right in that most of us, I am sure, would vote biopsy. Like she said why wait. Let's just make sure, then if everything is ok you can stop worrying, and if not, you can take care of it. My breast were always very dense, even at 49 when I was dx, so they also did an ultrasound on me. Your radiologist may have figured that they could not get a good enough image, so why continue with the mammo. We are here for you no matter what you do, so please keep us updated. {{{{{HUGS}}}} to you. Gail
 It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.   Elisabeth Kubler Ross


louieloui
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/22/2005 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for the advice and good thoughts!  I will keep you posted on what my doctor has to say.  Last night I had a dream that the radiologist had missed a large lump because she hadn't checked a certain area.  Jeez...and I thought wedding nightmares were bad (I'm a photographer). 
 
So those of you that replied and had lumps, were they malignant or benign?
 
~Laura~

louieloui
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/22/2005 11:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Also, can anyone tell me what cluster cells are?

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 4/22/2005 12:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Louie, I personally have no idea what they mean by cluster cells. An ultrasound cannot see things on a cellular level, so this is confusing to me. Frayda knows histology, hopefully she will chime on on this one. Most of us here have had breast cancer. About 80% of breast lumps are benign, so odds are in your favor.

Please do seek a second opinion and biopsy though.
Lori


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 4/22/2005 3:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Probably benign is the key word in the decision to have a biopsy. Probably is not a definite and you need to be sure, a biopsy is the only way to know for sure. I am guessing the cluster cells they are talking about are clusters of microcalcifications. In my daughter's mammo Xrays we could see the clusters very well. In mine I have seen only spots here and there of microcalcifications. Clustering microcalcification is what is watched for along with other signs of lumps, lesions, tumors, whatever the doctor calls them. With your family history, please don't wait and get all the tests you can to determine if you might have breast cancer. Early detection is the key. Good luck. Welcome to our forum here. Hopefully you will have B-9 results. Mary K.

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