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Forum Name: Breast Cancer

Question: LARGE LUMP IN ARMPIT


 marleycat - Wed May 09, 2007 7:48 pm

I am a 27 year old woman. I have a large lump in my right armpit. I first noticed it about 7 years ago. At that time my doctor said it was a cyst. It was about the size of a marble then, now it's about the size of a golfball. I haven't had insurance for a long time and I have avoided the doctors for a long time also. As far as I know there isn't any history of breast cancer in my family. I finally have insurance so, this is basically my first attempt to deal with this in a long time. If anyone can help it would be appreciated.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:10 pm

User avatar I would recommend that you get established with a physician to guide your work up. You will likely need some imaging to better assess this lump.

While cancer is a possibility, it seems less likely since it has been present for seven years. It is still important to have this evaluated, however.

Best wishes.
 newhall243 - Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:13 am

Hello,
My story/symptoms are very similar to this poster (marleycat).
I am a 46 y/o female. There is history of breast cancer in my family. My oldest sister was 48 when she passed away from breast cancer. Last year (3/6/06) I had a mamo and sono done in my right breast which came back abnormal. I went to them because while taking a shower I found/felt a hard nodule under my armpit which I found to be disturbing. I was told to get a sono which came back indicating the following:
Examination shows evidence of 20 x 8 mm (2.1 cm)? oval shaped solid nodule noted rt mid axilla. This appears to fall into probably benign category. When I came back to the breast doctor with the results he told me the nodule is very deep in my underarm. Surgery (lymph node biopsy) was an option, however, he told me that I could possibly have compications with my right arm and since I am right handed it may be more of a problem. When I came back to the breast doctor with the results he told me the nodule is very deep in my underarm. Surgery (lymph node biopsy) was an option, however, he told me that I could possibly have compications with my right arm and since I am right handed it may be more of a problem. Before contemplating on surgery, which I was ready for, he sent me to my primary doctor for blood works (TB and HIV). Those came back fine and I went back to see the breast doctor again. If the blood work came back fine, then we were going to talk AGAIN about surgery. That didn't happen. He (breast doctor) changed his mind and decided to wait a couple of more months to see if there were any changes. By now I am frustrated, tired but most of all worried to death. Okay, so I now wait a couple of months and to my surprise I am out of health insurance. (long story). A year has passed and the lymph node seems to have gotten bigger. Since then, I've been without insurance but I have managed to contact a clinic where they have given me some insurance to have a diagnostic mamo done. I should mention that the lump feels fixed, no pain and feels rather large. I've had 3 prior biopsies of the breast but they all have come back benign. I am waiting for the appointment but would like to have some suggestions as to what you THINK I may have.

I should also mention that I went to see my primary doctor because for the past 3 weeks I noticed a large swollen/enlarged mass (almost the size of my palm) on my right side around my rib cage. I paid no mind thinking that maybe I slept wrong but it has not gone away. There is no pain in the immediate area; however, there is at times discomfort/pain on my back (shoulder blade/lung) and in front/right of my stomach. I've always had the pain in my stomach since I suffer from ulcers so didn't give it another thought. In any event, the doctor immediately told me I needed to get a CT scan of chest and right sided lateral trunk with contrast. This is to rule out mass chest wall malignancy (cancer). As well as having several blood work done: ANA, CMP,CBC, RF, FBS, TSH, LFT.

Since my ANA came back positive (1:80)(320) last year he wants to run it again. I was seeing a doctor for Lupus but because the other blood work did not come back positive I was told that perhaps it may be rheumatoid arthritis.

Well, until I have the CT done and blood work I will not know what on earth is wrong. He also mentioned it could be fatty tissue but to tell you the truth he did not convince me of that. I still have no insurance and the program I was given for the mammogram does not cover anything else.


My question is, could this swelling of my rib cage can be related to the lymph node and/or lung cancer? I am a smoker and my father passed away of lung cancer several years ago.

Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
 newhall243 - Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:49 pm

Hi all,
I want to give an update of my recent complications.

I went to the ER (9/12) because I was having tremendous chest pain, shortness of breath and pain on the right mass and on my back. I explained to the ER doctor what my primary doctor wanted me to have done and he did just that. I had a CT done with contrast. Well, the CT came back fine (nothing wrong with my lungs). I asked the doctor about the mass and he said that "whatever it is, it is not from the inside." He said I will have to wait for the blood work that I explained on my letter to you. That may give more information as to what is going on with me. The final report for the ER visit was bronchitis. He gave me antibiotics and was sent home. Can the bronchitis come because of the lymph node? (something I forgot to ask the doctor. He dismissed me too fast and with no time to ask any questions)

As you may probably imagine, I am still confused and worried because of that mass on my side (right sided lateral trunk). Could it possibly be "fatty tissue" as my doctor had suggested? It doesn't look like fatty tissue. It looks like my ribs are popping out with a mass. Can't really explain it. I feel that perhaps this "mass" has to do with my lymph nodes. Could this mass be cancerous even if the CT showed nothing wrong? I was told by the attending nurse that perhaps I should request to have an MRI done later on when I see my doctor.

On Thurday (9/13) I had my diagnostic mamo and ultrasound done. Both breasts were done and mamo was done twice on my left breast. I was told the radiologist wanted a second look since my breasts are so dense. Then, I had the ultrasound done on axillary lymph node and both breasts. I was told by the technician that the mass measures 1.7cm. The doctor or radiologist did not come in for a consultation. Odd, because everytime I had one done I was told the same day. Anyway, I called my clinic and they said within 1-2 weeks I should hear from them. That is the worst part....waiting!

Today (9/14) I went back to my primary doctor for a follow-up from my ER visit. According to the doctor everything came back fine. However, when I asked him for a copy of the report, these tests (bold) came back saying the following:

GRANULOCYTES PERCENT- 44 L (50-75)

*Granulocytopenia - Some people use this term in place of Neutropenia.
White blood cells fight infection. The white blood count (WBC) is part of a complete blood count (CBC) that is used to check your blood counts. There are several types of white blood cells.

LYMPHOCYTES PERCENT- 49 H (25-45)

*Lymphocytes are formed in lymphatic tissue throughout the body. Lymphatic tissue are a network of fibers and cells that help protect the body against disease. Examples of places in the body where lymphocytes are made that are made of lymphatic tissue include the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and lymph nodes.


DIRECT BILIRUBIN - <0.1 A (0.1-0.5)


*Direct (or conjugated) bilirubin. Direct bilirubin dissolves in water (it is soluble) and is made by the liver from indirect bilirubin. The direct bilirubin fraction is that portion of bilirubin that has undergone metabolism by the liver. If the direct bilirubin is low, while the total bilirubin is high, this reflects liver cell damage or bile duct damage within the liver itself.


GLUCOSE- 146 H ( 74-118)


*The blood glucose test is ordered to measure the amount of glucose in the blood right at the time of sample collection. It is used to detect both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia and to help diagnose diabetes.

RHEUMATOID FACTOR- <20.0 A (0.0-19.0)

*This test is most often used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. About 80% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis have positive RF tests. It may also be used to rule out or diagnose other inflammation-related conditions.It may be ordered along with other autoimmune-related tests, such as an ANA (antinuclear antibody) along with a CBC (Complete Blood Count) to evaluate the body’s blood cells.

CT RESULTS

Heart is not enlarged. There is minimal atelactasis- fibrotic scarring present at both lung bases posteriorly and inferiorly. There are minimal degenerative change involving the dorsal spine.

Conclusion--minimal fibrotic changes are present in both lung bases posteriorly.

*Atelectasis is a collapse of lung tissue affecting part or all of one lung. This condition prevents normal oxygen absorption to healthy tissues.

Please note, the *remarks* made under the bloodwork results I made to myself and others in case they don't know what they mean. It was not in the report!

Can you possibly shed some light to the results. My doctor did not go over them with me. I only noticed this when I left the office. I am not sure of the following marks/letters and what they mean. I think I have an idea but I want to make sure. (<) and (A). The rest of the tests came back within range or just at the exact range number (highest).

About the mass, I was told it can be inflamed/fatty tissue. I was told to take Tylenol or Motrin. On another note, do you get "puffiness" on your face if you have breast cancer/Lupus? On my left side of my face (top of cheekbone area) below my eye, I have a rounded puffy mass. I've had this for the past month or so. Now, about 2 days ago I noticed on my right side (around lacrimal area) coming down and under my eyes a puffy mass. Today, I looked as if someone had knocked me on my eye!
I asked my doctor about it and he can't tell me what it is. He THINKS it can be from Lupus since I have the butterfly rash and well as those puffy masses. However, it cannot be conclusive until I have the bloodwork done. The ANA was not performed at the hospital.

Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
 newhall243 - Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:30 pm

Here is another update since my last mamo and ultrasound.
ULTRASOUND STUDY OF THE BILATERAL BREASTS.

The patient had ultrasound with attention to the right axillary area because of clinical history. There is an oval 17x6.3x6 mm circumscribed structure which may have some mild distal acoustic enhancement. It has a relatively lucent center and some slight vascular signal in its center. It could represent a lymph node whcih is replaced with some fat in the center. I am uncertain as to its exact etiology. I suggest correlation for any palpable abnormalities in this area. A followup ultrasound with attention to this in approximately 8 weeks.

The left breast was evaluated by ultrasound because of mammographic density. All four quadrants of the retroareolar area on the left were surveyed. There is no abnormal solid or cyst mass identified on the left.

IMPRESSION

Small circumscribed 17mm lession in the right axilla, possibly a small fatty replaced lymph node. this should represent a benign structure. No abnormal focal mass indentified on survey of the left breast as described above.

INDICATION

Follow up mammogran/RT axilla palpable, survey fo the left breast.

DIAGNOSTIC BILATERAL MOMMORGRAPHY

HISTORY: Right breast axillary node

The current film mammography was done with radiopaque marker placed at the righ axillary area and axillary tail view was performed. A compression spot film over the left breast and craniocaudal projection was also done. The breasts are heterogenously dense. The left breast appears to be generally more dense than on the previous study. Compresive spot film was done and shows increase in parenchymal glandular density, but no focal abnormality is appreciated.
The apperances fo the distribution of parenchymal glandular tissue is otherwise similar to the previous examination. No focal isometric density is noted in the right axillary area in the region of the radiopaque marker. There may be a tiny lymph node, less than 10mm very deep within the right axilla, not entirely included on the film. There is a small benign calcification in the medial aspect of the left breast and inferior right breast.

The patient will have ultrasound directed toward the axillary area of the right breast and survey of the left breast because of the apparent increased density.

The ultrasound showed a small focal area in the right axilla whcih could represent a small lymph node with a relatively hypoechoic lucent center, perhaps due to some fatty replacement or atrophy. No sonographic abnormality was seen on the left.

END OF REPORT

Could you possibly explain what all of this means (highlighted)? If my first ultrasound founded a SOLID mass, as mentioned in my first post, why do I need to wait another 8 WEEKS! Shouldn't I be able to get a biopsy at this point? How can he detect benign findings if no biopsy was done? I don't understand the fatty tissue part and then becomes a lymph node. Could you explain?

I appreciate anything you have to suggest to me. I am more lost now than before!

Thanks
MR
 newhall243 - Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:52 pm

wow, I guess no body comes around this forum too often. I've been checking back periodically and no one has responded. I am pretty sure there are others who may benefit from answers given to my questions.

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