Patient Comments: Breast Cancer - Diagnosis


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Comment from: Kathy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 25

My mammogram in December of 2016, was fine. Afterwards I got a copy of a letter in the mail saying I had type D dense breast and I could get an MRI if I paid for it. I looked over my last three mammograms and saw that each year my breast density was increased to the next level. No one ever told me density increases or that it was a real issue. I paid for the fast MRI and it lit up a small under 1 cm mass. I had a second look MRI four days later and a biopsy two weeks later which showed well differentiated invasive ductal cancer with lobular features or something similar. Seeing breast surgeon this week. Sounds early so I am grateful.

Comment from: Leslie, (Patient) Published: February 04

I am 52 and was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer when I was 44. It was very fast, very aggressive. I had pain and itching in the affected breast. I also had fibrocystic disease from my teen years on. I was lucky that we caught the cancer because it grows in sheets, not round, and regular mammograms don't see it, and my breast tissue is so dense and full of cysts that it is hard to view. But irregular areas of a different shade made it suspect, then a special ultrasound, made it probable, then a special MRI showed a 'dot-dash like matrix extending posteriorly from the nipple exteriorly to the chest wall'. It was fast and aggressive, within one month when we were doing more tests, biological markers, and putting in the port, my breast had nipple distortion, a 4 inch 'dent' extending upward towards the 1:00 position, and redness, then a change in the skin appearance. They started chemotherapy 3 days after the port insertion, instead of waiting the usual 2 weeks. It's been a rough 8 years. My daughter had ruptured ovarian cysts at the age of 12, and was diagnosed with fibrocystic disease at the age of 13, with a biopsy. She has it worse than me. I'm BRAC negative, but have been told that there are other genes which play into breast cancer and obviously my daughter is at a much higher risk and should start having mammograms at 24. Please everyone, be alert! Don't think it won't be you, and doesn't happen to you. I was told that I had a 10 percent survival chance for 5 years, the cancer was in my chest wall, and considered systemic, I had thyroid cancer concurrently (2 types), I had a nodule in my lung which was removed, and several other scares. But I'm here, I'm considered stable (not cured), and will be on medication for life (hopefully a really long one). Be vigilant, and note the changes in the pain and be persistent with doctors; when you know something isn't right be persistent! Originally my doctor told me it was most likely an infection, there was only a dime sized area of redness, I told her it was cancer, and bad, I knew it, and she listened and ordered the specialized mammogram and ultrasound for the next day.

Comment from: Joanne, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

My breast cancer was detected by mammogram only. I can't emphasize enough how important getting your mammogram is. It saved my life.

Comment from: slmhobblet, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

My breast cancer was discovered accidentally. I had a "clean" mammogram on May 31 of last year (2007). I ran the Casper Marathon on June 8, 2007. I was feeling myself all over the next day, thinking "Ow, everything still hurts," when I found a very small lump the size of a green pea in my left breast nearly under my arm. I immediately made an appointment with my physician, who decided to watch it a couple of months to see if it would go away on its own. When it was still present on July 23, we agreed I should have a diagnostic mammogram. Upon reading the mammogram, the radiologist said, "I can't see anything"... not anything as in "no cancer" but as in "diddlysquat...your breasts are too dense to read." She said I needed an ultrasound, which I then had and which clearly indicated on the screen, even to me, that something different was present. I returned two days later for a fine core biopsy and a research MRI for a clinical study. Results from the biopsy and the MRI indicated the presence of cancer. This experience has totally demolished my confidence in mammograms. I feel as though I have been brainwashed by the flood of propaganda about getting my yearly mammograms (which I have done every year for the past 19 years). This cancer had been present for an estimated five to six years, yet no mammogram or yearly physician's exam had detected it. My yearly mammogram report always said something to the effect that I have dense breasts that make the mammograms more difficult to interpret....but nowhere or at any time was I ever told that the physician could not see "anything" as in "diddlysquat," and that to be safe, I should have an MRI. My physician says that the insurance will not pay for such MRIs and that is why doctors don't recommend them. I would gladly have paid for the expense myself given the fact that breast cancer runs in my family. I will be fortunate to survive another four years now.

Comment from: Sooviver, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I went for my annual mammogram (about six months later then I should have) and they sent me a notice that I needed to have more films taken. I went back and they took the necessary films. Then they wanted to have a needle biopsy. I was positive for invasive ductal cancer, stage 2. That was in September and now it is January. Since September, I've had two surgeries, and I am now starting radiation. Plus, I'm taking Arinidex. This has all happened so fast, yet so slow. All I can say is, please get an annual mammogram.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

My ductal cancer was diagnosed via biopsy at which time a clip was left inside my breast.


A lump in the breast is almost always cancer. See Answer
Comment from: JudyV, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I was diagnosed at age 44 with invasive and in-situ stage 2 lobular carcinoma. I found the lump 15 months before the diagnosis, but since it didn't show up on a mammogram, I was told not to worry about it. So much for not worrying. I was cancer-free until 2008 when I was diagnosed with high grade papillary bladder cancer (doctor says he considers it T1A), so I will be under immunotherapy for two more years if things go OK.

Comment from: fissy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

When I was 37 in 1994, I felt a lump in my right breast. I immediately phoned my doctor who scheduled a mammogram. The mammogram showed a small underlying cyst, and the recommendation was to return ay age 40. I insisted on a biopsy, which proved that I did have breast cancer. After the lumpectomy, I was at a stage 1. Upon returning four days later for a check-up, I was then told it was a stage 3 and that I needed a masectomy immediately, followed by chemotherapy, radiation and Tamoxifen. I also had lymph node involvement. Needless to say, I do no rely on mammograms alone.

Comment from: Sharon, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I had absolutely no symptoms. I just went in for my annual mammogram. I am only 43 years old, but my maternal grandmother had invasive breast cancer, so I started getting regular mammograms at age 38. The radiologist found a group of calcifications, did a biopsy, and found it to be very early stage (zero) Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). I just had the partial mastectomy, which was really more like a lumpectomy. The radiation therapy will start soon to lessen the chance of recurrence.

Comment from: Chuckie51, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I had breast cancer in 2001. I had a mammogram in February, which was normal. In late June, I was awakened in the night with a sharp pain in my breast. (It showed bruising and a dimple.) I called my OB/GYN and went in immediately. Within three days, I had surgery resulting in stage II breast cancer. Sometimes there is pain, and sometimes digital mammograms don't catch the tumor.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I was going to bed and happened to tuck my right arm under my left underarm. I felt a tiny lump. The doctor couldn't find it a few days later at the gynecological exam. Several months later, the lump was easy to find in my armpit. It was really tough getting the armpit on mammogram. I had an ultrasound and then a biopsy. Too many people dismissed the lump. "Probably just a swollen lymph node. Were you sick recently?" The doctors said it didn't look or feel like breast cancer. It was. I wish I would have pursued more manual exams when I first found it in bed that night.

Comment from: ctworld, Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I discovered I had breast cancer by accident. I had just given birth to my 2nd child when I noticed a small lump on my breast. Milk was coming out, but I didn't think anything of it because I was breast feeding. Well while carrying the baby I noticed a lump and some pain. I immediately went to the radiologist where she told me straight out that she believed I should see a doctor ASAP because I might have breast cancer. I am so glad she told me so directly; otherwise I probably would have overlooked the milky discharge from my nipple as milk. Well it has know been 6years that I am a survivor, I went thru Chemo, Double Mastectomy, and reconstruction. It was a long journey, at times I wanted to give up, but I kept fight for my two kids that I have to raise! All Females out there, please get check every year! This all happened when I was 35yrs old.

Comment from: skullcat, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I was having pain in my left breast, so my doctor sent me for mammogram. The lump was in my right breast! I had it removed yesterday, and it was positive.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

I had my yearly mammogram and was told to come back for a repeat. Well, they couldn't get me in for five weeks, and within that time, I felt a lump the size of a pea. When I went back for the mammogram, they said everything was fine. I told them everything was not fine and that I had a lump in my breast that was not there five weeks ago. So they did an ultrasound and told me yes, there was something, but it wasn't anything to worry about. I already had thyroid cancer. Well, five months went by, and again, I went to the doctor and demanded something be done. Right through the biopsy I was told everything looked good. Well, I had Stage 11 cancer. I had a mastectomy, went through chemo and radiation and just finished my Herceptin treatments.

Comment from: Pammer, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 23

I had a mammogram and sonogram because I felt a throbbing sensation in my right breast. Both came back with no abnormalities. I then had a core needle biopsy, this too came back with no abnormalities. My breast surgeon wanted to do surgery and remove the lump that we had felt. It was only then that I found out that it was cancer.


Breast Cancer See a medical illustration of breast anatomy plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Comment from: Survivor, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I found my breast cancer myself by accident. I rolled over in bed, pushing my breast out of the way, and felt the lump.

Comment from: grizzy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

I found a lump the size of a pea and was told it was a fatty cyst. Ten months later, it was cancer misdiagnosed by a mammogram as I was only 37 with small breasts.

Comment from: Page2, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

My breast cancer was detected by having a slight twinge in the right breast (which is clear). I never felt a lump. I recommend yearly mammograms.

Comment from: SDdogger, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I found a lump and went to get an exam and a mammogram. That led to further tests, including an ultrasound and core biopsies. The tests revealed breast cancer.

Comment from: Nangel50, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I found my breast cancer through a self exam. The mammogram missed it. Ladies, do those breast examines; they could save your life!

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

My breast cancer was discovered in a mammogram on Halloween of last year. I was sent for a follow-up mammogram plus ultrasound one week later that confirmed two lumps in my left breast. A core needle biopsy was performed and I was diagnosed with Stage 1 HER2 Positive breast cancer. My treatment consisted of Surgery (lumpectomy) followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I am finally at the end of treatment (Herceptin infusions) and am taking Arimidex. I never felt the lumps and my Gynecologist didn't either. If you don't do anything else, please, please have a yearly mammogram my cancer is very aggressive. If I had waited another six months my prognosis would be very different.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I found the lump accidentally by myself. The lump was 15 mm by 7.5 mm, it was pretty big and seemed to have just appeared really fast. It was DCIS and starting to get invasive. I had a physical exam done at a doctor's office 8 months prior. I'm not sure how something that big could have been missed. Anyway, I had a double mastectomy and have started Tamoxifen. It was stage 1B.

Comment from: TLC, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

When I was 36 I discovered the lump in my left breast, which I didn't have removed until I was 38, then at 39 I also discovered a lump in my right breast, which the ultrasounds did not detect.

Comment from: Wings , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I believe and the doctors concur that my breast cancer was definitely genetic. My mother died at the age of 43, breast cancer. Four of her sisters died (later age) of breast cancer. My sister (older) had a lumpectomy at the age of 55. I was diagnosed at the age of 63 and underwent bilateral mastectomy, my choice. Unfortunately, since I was not on Medicare at the time, I had a very new surgeon (Medicaid) who did not know how to remove the underlying tissue that accumulates when a woman is on her back and now I have heavy "wings" under arms but I am alive.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

I found a lump in my breast while showering. It turned out to be cancer stage 2, aggressive.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

My breast cancer was detected by a digital mammogram.


Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment See Slideshow

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