Please Read. Worried Sick!

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Hi, first and foremost i don't know if i am putting this in the right place, as i haven't actually been diagnsed, so i apologise in advance if i upset anyone. I'm 26 and a mother to a gorgeous boy who's 5. I've been have very slight pain in my left breast and a very itchy nipple (no rash, no redness, no swelling, no lumps etc...) Anyway i've has 4 different doctors check both breasts and none of them are concerned in the slightest. I asked if i can have an ultrasound (as i'm 26 apparently i might have dense tissue so an ultrasound would be better) Doctor said theres no point and she isn't worried in the slightest. Ive even spoken a nurse from the cancer awareness group and she said the same and not to worry. Anyway, since then the itch has left the left nipple, and has gone to the right one, upon looking at them i have 2 small blemishes near the nipple. They don't hurt, and aren't itchy as of yet, bu the nipple is. I do suffer from health anxiety too. I've seen my doctor more times than i care to admit. I just don't know what to do from here. I've even phoned different private clinics to see if they will see me and i'll pay, and they won't. Apparently the symptoms don't justify it, or i'm too young, ot a need a gp referral. I just don't know what to do now. I know my doctors have checked them... but ive seen so many horror stories and missed and late diagnosis!!!! Sorry to go on. Please any advise or anything would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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  • Posted

    I'm in your same position. 4 different doctors and no answers. They won't do a mammogram God knows why. They did a complete blood test I'm still waiting on results. My pain is on the left breast under my underarm and it travels to my arm down the to my fingers. I have 3kids and like you I freak out of being misdiagnosed. Google doc seems to make everything worst. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Kelly

    Before I reply to your post, I should tell you that I am a retired doctor of 53, who worked as an anaesthetist, during which time I had a great deal of experience in the field of breast surgery and reconstructive breast surgery.  It probably gives me some knowledge, but I am also very likely to be out of date.

    Also, last year I had an invasive breast cancer picked up on my first routine mammogram.  After this was removed, the pathologist found another one in the biopsy material, so I returned for more surgery to remove this.  I was fortunate, in that the lymph nodes were spared, so I only needed radiotherapy, and not chemotherapy. 

    You may undestand that I know exactly how much anxiety is generated by fear of breast cancer, and partly because of this I am determined that in the future I shall volunteer for Breast Cancer Care.

    This is a wonderful organisation that you can contact via breastcancercare.org.uk.

    You can phone them during office hours, and they are highly informed, compassionate people, most of who have had breast cancer themselves.

    According to Breast Cancer Campaign research, in the UK the life time risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8.  That is 12.5% of the female population, over an entire lifetime, not all of which will be the cause of mortality. 

    The incidence of its occurrence in the under thirties is 1 in 1,900.  That is 0.05% of women in that age group, again who develop the disease, but do not necessarily die from it.

    It is a minute amount of people! 

    You will now understand why your four different doctors, and the nurse from the cancer awareness group were not particularly concerned.

    However - the fact that they are not concerned does not detract from the anxiety and fear that you are experiencing as a result of your symptoms. It is perhaps inevitable that you are frightened, since you say that you have health anxieties, and of course it is entirely understandable that any woman would be so where it comes to any suspicion of breast disease, because most of us are so aware of the risks.  You ca nbarely open a newspaper or magazine without reading something about it - not necessarily accurate information, I have to say, but as with Dr Google, I think is probable that without some degree of training in nursing, medicine or allied professions it is difficult to decide which entries to believe, and which to discount as nonsense.  I always advise my non-medical friends to try to resist looking things up on line, as they always end up worrying themselves, usually needlessly.

    If you want to find health information from a reliable source, that tagets the lay population, try the Mayo Clinic in the States - they have loads of info. and it is reliable, and not written in a condescending way (doctor knows best - hummpphh).  Just go to Google and look up Mayo Clinic and then breast cancer symptoms.  You may well feel reassured.

    Mammograms are not usually offered to people under their late forties, as if there are malignant cells present, they tend not to calcify until that age, and the xray diagnosis relies on this to identify a potential problem.

    Ulstrasounds may be more reliable in younger women, and when there is increased density of breast tissue, which may disguise the findings that might be made from a mammogram.  This was not my area of expertise, but I have had a coupe of ultrasounds myself.

    As for referal for a private appointment, I don't know if you have been involved with the private sector in the past, but it is conventional to have your initial appointment made after a referral by a GP.  It is possible that if you went to the most sympathetic of the doctors that you have seen, that he/ she might agree to refer you. 

    Perhaps one way of approaching this is to ask yourself whether there is a logical reason for you to have developed itchy nipples.  It isn't uncomon for women to experience this - some causes might be - jogger's nipple - usually when running without an adequate or soft enough bra, washing with different soaps and using perfumed products and so on, and breast feeding.  It might be constructive to go back to your doctor, and ask if they could help relieve the itching, rather than expressing your fear of it being a sign of something sinister.  Get rid of the itching, and hopefully you should feel relief from the fear.

    Having said that - it is very important for you to develop a routine of self examination - if you look up Sniffy Wiffy on line - they sell wonderful products that also come with a card for you to locate a site that tells you in very clear terms how to do this.  You don't have to buy anything - the information is all there on the site.

    I really hope that this has helped you in some way. 

    It is far more likely that you might suffer a car accident, god forbid, but I'll bet it never crosses your mind when you get into a car.

    Take care

    Manda x

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    • Posted

      Thank you very much for your response. It is very informative. I have asked to be referred to the breast clinic, my doctor didn't see it needed, but i asked her too anyway. I've found 2 lumps that are in the same place on each side of the breast, although the one on the right is more prominent. My doctor felt them and said it feels like a fibroid or something as it moves around under the skin and it's soft etc... anyway my appointment is on Christmas eve. I'm just hoping for some good news. That would be the best Christmas present i could ask for xx
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    • Posted

      I'm also very glad to hear that you are on the mend and I'm sorry you have had such a bad time. Xxx
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    • Posted

      Hi Kelly

      I think that you doctor may have told you that the lumps resemble fibroadenomas.  Also called breast mice, these are very common in your age group, are benign, and classically move around under the skin, hence the common name 'breast mouse'. 

      There is some controversy about whether these should be removed or not.  The old saying in medicine was that 'no woman should be allowed to have a lump in her breast', but that was thirty odd years ago, when I had a breast mouse/ fibroadenoma removed at the age of 22.  I was a medical student at the time, and absolutely scared stiff!!  So you see, I really do understand.  Some surgeons feel that they should be left well alone.

      It is possible, but by no means mandatory, and probably not very liekly that the surgeon who sees you may peform a Fine Needle Aspiration - FNA - which removes a tiny amount of tissue from the lump/ lumps, which is then sent for examination under a microscope by a histopathologist. 

      Before you worry yourself about this, along with all the other worries that we tend to have at this time of year - hardly the least stressful at best - let my try to reassure you that it isn't a particularly unpleasant procedure, and that if you have it done, you will be absolutely fine during and afterwards.

      I can speak with confidence, as I had an FNA a few months ago when I found some small lumps in my other breast - i.e. the one that didn't have the previous cancers.  Thankfully, the results showed that the lumps consisted of normal breast tissue - I am just lumpy in that area.

      All that is involved with an FNA is that you have a small local anaesthetic injection, and then a small needle is inserted into the lump, and a tiny amount of tissue aspirated from it, i.e. sucked out of the lump using a syringe.  It sounds horrible, but it really isn't at all.  You don't have to watch while it is being done!

      It is important to press on the puncture site with some cotton wool or similar for about five minutes afterwards, otherwise you will bruise, and you don't need that on Xmas Eve with a little boy to entertain!  If the nurse or surgeon doesn't offer some cotton wool or sterile tissues or whatever to you, although they probably will, then ask for some.  I hardly had a mark after mine.  Really!

      Your breast surgeon will advise you on the best course of action. 

      I think that you would be wise to follow his advice, and if he, along with your GPs is also not concerned, then try to put it to rest for the time being, bearing in mind that you would still be well advised to examine yourself every month - I understand that the best time is just after your period has finished.

       I am sure that after you have seen your surgeon that you will have good news, even though if you have an FNA the results of it may not  necessarily be availabe until after the New Year.  However, it is the clinical opinion of your surgeon that really matters, and should reassure you, and if he thinks all is well, then you should, too.

      Bearing in mind that the statistical chance of your problem being that of breast cancer is so incredibly small, do try not to let the fear of it ruin your Xmas.  Also - be very wary of what other people may say to you, particularly if they have no qualifications with which to back up their comments, nor had personal experience of the disease.

      The only opinions that matter are that of your doctors, surgeon and most importantly, you!  Some people love to spread fear and anxiety, and I doubt that it would be of any help to you at the moment.

      I hope to hear at some point how you get on on Xmas Eve, if you find the time.  Meanwhile, I shall be thinking of you,

      Have a very Happy Christmas

      Manda xx

       

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