I had a baseline mammogram, and two lumps were found in my left breast, so I was sent to get an ultrasound. The doctor did not really say too much. She asked me if I had an infection in my breast, I said no and that was that. She said that she really couldn't tell anything else because this was my baseline and that I needed to come back in 6 months to see if the lumps have grown. Is this a normal answer? Do I wait 6 months to see if it is cancer? I had one lump removed from my right breast in 1993 which was not cancer but is that what you do? Should I go see another doctor?
Leery About Lumps
Breast lumps can be tricky to manage. There are several features of a lump that doctors consider in trying to figure out if a lump is benign (not cancerous) or not:
- Smooth or rough? A lump that's smooth like a marble is more likely to be benign thank one that is bumpy around the edges.
- Mobile or fixed? A lump that you can squish around between your fingers is more likely to be benign than one that feels cemented in place.
- Fluid-filled or solid? A cyst filled with fluid is 99% of the time benign.
But in the end, the only way to know that a lump is not cancer is to sample it--using a needle (with or without ultrasound or CT scan) to extract cells, then examine them under a microscope. No doctor can tell you with certainty that a lump is benign until you've had it biopsied. But if your doctor or the radiologist has a low suspicion that the lumps are cancer, waiting 3-6 months for another exam and mammo/ultrasound is reasonable.
Bottom line? Ask your doctor why she thinks it's okay to wait 6 months for another check. And if you're not reassured, seek a second opinion. It's your body, and you need to feel good about what's happening with it.
Have you ever had a breast lump? Did you have a biopsy, or did your doctor say it was okay to wait?
Photo credit: zpeckler