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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Breast Cancer

Question: painful breast mass/schwannoma

 breastpain1 - Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:16 pm

I am a 44 year old female with both a paternal and maternal aunt with breast cancer (late in life). Since February I have had a painful area of my right breast that occurs about an inch above my nipple. I can feel an area that is different than my normal tissue but not really a round tumor or mass. A diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound were negative. Sent to surgeon anyway, who didn't feel much but a lot of fibrous nodularity. We decided to watch it for three months with me limiting caffiene. No caffiene really helped the overall pain of my breast--but when I would touch the area it still hurt and I could still fill the "mass" although it really is hard to determine its size, shape etc. We are doing a excisional biopsy now--surgeon says he wants to take the whole thing out as needle biopsies might miss the tissue he is looking for...Anyway, I am assuming it is cancer just to prepare myself but am wondering what else it COULD be and is my history of a non-malignant schwannoma of my carotid artery (at 39) area anything that could be related?
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:43 pm

User avatar Hello,

Many times the breast develops areas of increased fibrosis (fibroadenosis). There are certain mamographic criteria that help distinguish to some degree of accuracy whether the breast tissue is suspicious of malignancy or not. These include areas of microcalcification and architectural distortion as well as asymmetry among other things.

However, the sensitivity of mamograms are greatly reduced, when as in your case, there are no breast masses.

Other methods of detection would include MRI and PET scans.

Depending on the clinical and radiological findings your doctor would decide the best method to go forward. I would trust your doctors decision to go forward with a biopsy.

Breast cancer is essentially curable. However, there is no need to prepare yourself for anything, many times it turns out that you have nothing at all.

Please update us as soon as the results of the biopsy are out.

Best of luck.
 breastpain1 - Fri Jul 20, 2007 6:46 am

Bad news--I'm sure. Biopsy was done Monday. I heard the doctor speaking throughout the biopsy and he was telling his resident that he thought it was benign--just fibrocystic changes. But then in recovery he said that he "found what we felt" and that at first he thought it was a fibroandenoma but it wasn't encapsulated--which I know isn't good news. But he told me not to worry and he would call me thursday. Yesterday he called and said "[b]they think it might be a cancer"[/b] so they are doing more tests (a "stain") is what he said. He said it (the cells I think) looked really unusual, which is why he didn't recognize the tumor. He said it was more worrisome than he orginally thought. Obviously, I am a mess. Does the unusuallness of this make it a WORSE cancer to have? I am praying it is something simple that that can be taken care of with a lumpectomy or something but since they don't seem to know what it is, i am terrified.
 breastpain1 - Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:02 pm

Dr.--You asked for me to let you know the results of the biopsy. I of course get the really wierd cancer:

adenoid carcinoma of the breast.

My question to you is this likely to be the primary site? My surgeon thought so, and the pathology report didn't note anything other than that, but I know that this type of cancer is usually found in the salivary glands. Any insight you have would be great.

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