Having core biopsy on Friday - very scared

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 3/16/2005 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone. I just joined the group. Last friday I had a comprehensive mammo/US due to ongoing clear, yellow discharge in left breast. Dr. found a 1cmx1cmx1cm irregular hypechoic mass with a suspicious US appearance. Says it is highly suggestive of malignancy.

Can they tell if it is BC just from the mammo/US?

I am so scared about all of this, and I know you guys have all had these emotions and things. In 2001 the discharge was tested and I was told it could possibly be a papilloma but that nothing showed on films/US. I've also had a LARGE lymph note in the outside part of my breast not quite into my underarm all this time as well. Docs said it was just an enlarged node, not to worry. I have large, very dense breasts, so I hope nothing was ever missed!

Now I'm worried because of the radiologists report, the large node, plus since having my non-working gallbladder out in 6/01, I've had pain in left quadrant that has increased and is sometimes in my back. Has anyone else encountered anything like this?

Also, assuming this is a new lump (it is small), could it metastasize or spread to the lymph system so quickly? Any help/advise would be great. My husband is out of town during the week as we're in the middle of a move after he was layed off in December. I have two wonderful sons, 10 & 7 and I can't even keep myself together anymore.

Sorry to ramble.

Laure' in VA, soon to be upstate NJ.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1106
   Posted 3/16/2005 10:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure', Welcome and sorry you had to come here. Take a deep breath honey. Again. Now you have to remember to breathe, I know how this almost takes your breath away.
As far as the Dr knowing from the mammo and US, they can make a good educated guess. It still takes a biopsy to know 100% if it is cancer or not. And sometimes their educated guess turns out wrong, sometimes not. Remember, if it turns out right, you will then figure out what to do and fight! You will have a game plan! I know how frightened you are and the waiting is definately the worst part. They are some very long term survivors on this board, so it is not automatically a death sentence! And statitics, which I am sure you will hear from someone, or read somewhere, are JUST STATISTICS! There are ladies here who have proven statistics wrong. It happens all the time.
I am sorry your husband is out of town when you are going through this, but remember we are here and we will be with you and hold your hand all the way, no matter what the outcome! And for now, I am praying benign!!!
I know other ladies will be here and answer your other questions for you. Hang in there sweetie, I know it is hard, but you CAN do it!
L&H, Gail from Washington State
 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

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 3/16/2005 10:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure', sorry you needed to find us, but we are glad to have you here. It sounds like you have been through a tumultuous time lately. It all hits the fan at once, doesn't it? I will attempt to answer some of your questions and the others will chime in, I am sure. We have ladies in VA and NJ, in fact one in Bedford VA is a great friend of one in Morris Town NJ. So you are moving there? What a time to have to deal with breast problems.

Yes, they can tell from a mammogram and sonogram if it looks like cancer. Key words are spiculated (spider like) and clusters of micro calcifications. And 2.54 cm equals one inch, so that tells you your lump is less than half an inch in diameter. Which should be pretty early.

Many have had the core biopsy done on this formum. My daughter had it done six years ago when the radiologist also told her it was highly suspicious for cancer. The biopsy told them indeed it was cancer and because of where the lump was and the size of it, she needed a mastectomy. Doing the core biopsy gave her time to get a surgeon and plastic surgeon lined up together so reconstruction could be done at the same time. She was 39 at the time, there was not any positive lymph nodes but her oncologist said she should go through chemo because of her age, to be sure. Six years later there is no further evidence of Disease (cancer), NED as we say.

Some have been able to have a lumpectomy and chemo and radiation and been fine, also. I had only the mastectomy because I was 58 when diagnosed. We represent many forms of reconstruction, too, should that be necessary.

As to the question about metastasizing...... yes, if it is a very aggressive form of cancer, it can spread quickly. Even though lumps are small, we are told they are forming for about six to seven years before they can even be detected on the x-rays. But never assume the worst. In fact, I have a saying that is often quoted here, "Don't worry until you know you have something to worry about!" Now, that doesn't mean not to worry exactly but don't get all hyper until you know what you are dealing with, then take the appropriate action and still keep from worrying big time. Worrying does not help anything. LOL. But we all have been frightened of course. How can you not be? The unknown is frightening. There are many very strong ladies here who have been through far more than I have and their strength and attitude will amaze and help you, I am sure.

Hope this helps a little. Sorry you have so much on your plate right now, but we will help all we can.

Big hugs, Mary K. (MK)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 3/16/2005 10:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Mary K,

The radiologists report says it is a 1cm irregular mass. There are no additional masses or suspicious areas of architectural distortion. There are no suspicious microcalicifications.

I briefly saw one film and it showed a bright white spot that was circular in appearance.

Thank you for responding. We'll be not too far from Morris Town up in Sussex County (Lafayette). My DH is working in Whippany. Maybe the person in Morris Town can give me some advice on Doctors and facilities. I'd really appreciate that, plus I appreciate all of the support so far!

Thanks! --Laure'

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 3/16/2005 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi laure,my name is tammy(possitive)i have been getting mammos faithfully every year amonth ago they found a solid mass so i had a biopsy and ultrasound.it was possitive for cancer.they said it has been growing for over 2 years.i had a massectomy on left breast last week,im doing fine ,just got the results back from lymph nodes,one was possitive so im going to have chemo.Honey it is scary but you have to stay possitive.pray  and ask god to help you through this.if you find yourself worrying just say  JESUS he will help you.The ladies on this board are my angels.keep in contact with us ,you have good friends here..Love  Tammy(possitive)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 3/16/2005 3:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure' just wanted to add my welcome. Gail, MK and Tammy have given you good feedback on your questions and concerns. One of the most important things to do right now is remain calm in the midst of what feels like an earthquake. Know that there is nothing you can do to change whatever the outcome of the biopsy is. It is what it is. I had a very tiny lump only 6 mm in size. But, the surgeon took one look at the mammogram and said it had the classic cancer form -- spiculated, as MK said. And, he was right, it was cancer. Four years later I had a cluster of microcalcifications under my lumpectomy incision. This time a surgeon told me it was most likely a recurrance. Well, two biopsies later, no cancer was found. So, you just don't know without that biopsy and pathology report. You hang in there and try to take this just one day at a time. And, as MK is fond of saying, "Don't worry until you know you have something to worry about!" We are here for you no matter what the outcome of the biopsy, so know that you are not alone on this scary road. Hugs, Lauri in Minnesota
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 3/16/2005 3:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure....my real name is Laurel, but I go by Lori (I post under my dog's name, Tavish). You are doing everything you should be, and that includes feeling scared....it is normal. Gail and MK have given you great information. Yes they can make an educated guess from the mammo and u/s, but not for sure until they get it under the microscope. In my case, I was 30...breasts not large, but dense due to young age. Mammo was pretty inconclusive, but my u/s was also highly suspicious of malignancy. Mine was 2.5 cm, no positive notes, and they skipped the core biopsy, went right for removal. I am not sure why they chose that route.

A benign tumor is more likely to be regular in shape and density and have even edges. Unless you are a radiologist, most u/s will just look like a white spot....try not to get wrapped up in reading the films ( I was sure I had cancer in my lungs, turns out what I was looking at on an xray was just my blood vessels).

A lymph node can have cancer and not be that swollen, or a node can be swollen due to other issues (like an infection or cold)...so no telling what could be causing that to feel swollen.
If this is cancer, we'll get you through it! You will cry and have some tough times, but taking action and getting a plan is very empowering. And if it is not cancer, we'll raise a glass and toast in celebration. One step at a time though, try to focus each day without jumping to conclusions.
I was diagnosed over 5 years ago and remain NED too.

Hang in there-

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 3/16/2005 3:29 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm sure you can get some help from Libby who lives in Morris Town. She is a wonderful friend to all of us. I will alert her to your post. Irregular mass is also key wording but we can still hope and pray for a benign lump. You might see a B-9 chant coming on on Friday. We also attend in spirit to hold your hand as you have your biopsy. We use a pretend jet PCE for Pink Cloud Express and you may have read some posts about that. It seems to help knowing we are with you in spirit. Hugs MK

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 3/16/2005 3:43 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm Ellen, and I live in The Catskills.  I went straight to a breast surgeon when there was a lump, even though my mammo was normal, because I wanted the straight poop.  It paid off.  He did a needle biopsy right then and there, and I found out and could plan.  I went to NYC, Beth Israel.  Vicky, another member-sister from Upstate NY, used the same surgeon, Dr. Feldman.  I am very happy with the care I received.  I used an oncologist closer to my home, and they worked as a team.  I was 38, had a lumpectomy and was sentinal node negative. I had AC-T chemo and radiation.  I'm now on Tamoxifen.  All's well, so far.
Lots of luck to you, I'm praying for you.  Please keep us posted.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 539
   Posted 3/17/2005 1:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure, I'm the one that lives in Northern New Jersey (but not as far northwest as you will be).  I don't know anything about Lafayette but I do know Whippany.  Please click on my e-mail and I hope I can help in some small way.  You've come to a great place, the ladies here are caring, knowledgeable, loving and we give the best hugs.  Right now I'll begin that B9 chant... it's our favorite word... benign.  Welcoming Hugs, Libby
Friends are God's way of taking really good care of us.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 854
   Posted 3/17/2005 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure,

Sorry to hear you're in need of us. You've gotten excellent advice from the wonderful ladies ahead of me, so I'll just welcome you.


Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 248
   Posted 3/17/2005 3:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure! Welcome! There is not much more I can add at this time except that I live in central NJ. St. Clare's Hospital in Dover, NJ is an affiliate of Sloan Ketteing Cancer Center in NY and has breast cancer specialists rotating through there.  Dover is not far from Lafayette.  I was treated at Sloan Kettering in NY and they have the reputation of having the best cancer treatment in the world. Meanwhile, I will join the B9 mantra and hope that you won't be needing it! Good Luck! Frayda

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 3/17/2005 4:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laure'
You've gotten wonderful advice from the other members, so I'll just add my welcome and tell you that I'll keep you in my prayers.  Please if you could let us know what time tomorrow your biopsy is we will be there with you in spirit courtesy of the PCE.  I'm a newbie here too and started reading about this PCE with pink feather boas and wondered what in the world was going on.  I wrote, asked questions and got answers telling me it is this groups way of letting you know they are there with you.  I've had them with me for another biopsy since my BC was diagnosed.  And it helps to imagine those silly ladies in the room with you wearing pink feather boas!  It is a nice distraction.
During the waiting time things that I found helpful to keep me from losing it were; reading fiction, watching a movie (not Lifetime), prayer, meditation and upbeat music.  I've listened to "head banging rock" in the past and there have been several times in the last 2 months that I got in my "soccer mom" van and turned some music on LOUD and drove while singing.  If it's screaming rock it seems to be somewhat therapeutic.
No matter what happens just remember you are not alone.  We are here for you with advice, love and support.  And remember this is treatable, do-able and you are strong!
Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.

-Vesta M. Kelly

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 324
   Posted 3/17/2005 6:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome, Laure, from a fellow Virginian. Sorry to hear you're leaving the Commonwealth to move to NJ, but you'll be near a very dear friend of mine, Libby.

You've found a community of women who have been through a lot together as well as some newer members who are contributing info as well. Just let us know what your concerns are, and someone will surely have a response!

We hope your visit is a short one once you hear the "benign" word. Just know, that there is help here if you need it.

Welcoming hugs,

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