Lump found during mammogram

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Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 10/7/2013 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   
My wife, 44, had a mammogram a few days ago. They discovered a lump and afterwards she said it was painful. She hadn't noticed any pain before. We are a nervous reck. They have scheduled a consultation and then an ultrasound the next day. Is that normal procedure? I have talked to a few people who had lumps at their mammogram and they never had to have an ultrasound. Can they tell from a mammogram how serious a lump is? Seems serious if they are scheduling both a consultation and an ultrasound......just wondering if that is the normal procedure. Thanks.

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   Posted 10/7/2013 3:49 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a mammogram and they found something that wasn't on the first one. They wanted a better look and ultrasound is the way to go. I ended up getting a needle biopsy and it was nothing cancerous but something to watch as it can grow and need to be removed if it does.
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Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 10/11/2013 8:07 AM (GMT -7)   

I know you are worried. My husband seemed to take my diagnosis harder than I did. In the 2 months since then, he has been with me at every appointment and procedure.

Breast cancer is usually not painful. It's a good thing you have a follow up planned. Breasts develop calcifications as we age - it's normal. On a mammogram, they are usually tiny bright white round "pearls" scattered around the breast. Radiologists look for calcifications that are oddly shaped or close together. They compare current and previous mammograms as well. Many women have quite dense breast tissue which makes it harder to see these changes.

Most of the time when they see something that isn't clear to them, they ask for a second mammogram that will magnify the area of concern. Ultrasounds are not as commonly used but are certainly helpful. Most women will have a biopsy next. Today a stereotactic breast biopsy is done. They give you a little lidocaine that stings a minute, but that's it. I found it completely painless. The incision is tiny, 1/3", and closed with a steri strip. I had 12 areas of concern in one area so they took 12 tiny samples and found cancer is 8 of them. That means that 4 areas had no cancer at all even though they looked like the other ones. That's why they need the make sure. Lot's of women have a completely negative biopsy and your wife could be one of those.

The pathologist will check the biopsy samples and if they find cancer, they will identify the kind and stage of development. Mine was small and confined to a duct in my breast, DCIS, stage 0, but identified as an aggressive type. The usual treatment for that kind of cancer if a lumpectomy, where they take out the tumor and some adjacent tissue, followed by radiation. Chemotherapy might be added. She will likely be given hormone therapy, Tamoxifen, for 5 years afterwards. All that sounded awful to me, so I chose a mastectomy. No radiation or chemo would be needed. I took it one step further by choosing to have the other breast removed as well. I decided I didn't want to deal with worry that the cancer would come back or show up in the other breast.

I also chose immediate reconstruction which was done via by a plastic surgeon right after the general surgeon was finished with the double mastectomy. Implants were placed. Not all women are candidates for this and have tissue expanders placed instead. Weekly saline injections slowly expand the tissue so it can accommodate an implant a few months later.

Some women do not want to lose their breast so they would never make the same decision as I did. There is no right or wrong. Every woman is different. Let us know what happens.

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Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 10/11/2013 8:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Oops, forgot to add that when the pathology report came back after the double mastectomy, it showed that the "good side" had cancer too! It had been missed, even by an MRI done before surgery to look for any other areas of concern. It was LCIS, which apparently is harder to diagnose by mammogram. I saw an oncologist earlier this week for the first time. She confirmed what my surgeon radiation or chemo would be required. No hormone therapy would be needed. They got it all. My lymph nodes were clear. It hadn't spread. They got it early. My husband cannot stop smiling. This nightmare is over for both of us. Unfortunately not every journey ends like mine but I know you will be there every step of the way for your wife. Good luck.
My decision might seem radical to some, but for me, it was absolutely the right decision. I'm exactly 8 weeks out from surgery today and feel great. Next week I start some physical therapy to stretch tight, sore muscles and increase my range of motion. I didn't find the surgery recovery painless, but it was manageable with IV Tylenol every 6 hours in the hospital, then as needed at home. I still take it once in a while. I think the whole experience is not so much terribly painful as it is full of unpleasant, uncomfortable, and weird sensations. Other people with lower pain tolerances find they need narcotic pain relief. We are all different.
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