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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Breast Cancer

Question: persistent breast "lump" or mass

 shopgirlstl - Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:54 pm

I am 28 years old. No family history of breast cancer.
For quite a while now I have been experiencing a small, soft, mobile "lump" towards my armpit region. It seems to become more prominent, painful right before my period. But never completely goes away after. Although it seems to soften up again and become less noticable, however still there, once my period gets underway.
I have made several inquiries with my doctor. She felt it and was not concerned, said it felt very benign. After a 2nd visit to her, she referred me to a breast surgeon, to ease my worried mind (even though she didn't feel the visit to be necessary). The surgeon also was not worried upon feeling the lump...but did send me for an ultraound just to give me peace of mind. The ultrasound showed normal breast tissue even when the radiologist put the "wand" directly onto the lumpier area. After all of this, I still worry DAILY that I have breast cancer, and no one is detecting it. Am I being completely irrational?! I touch the spot daily....numerous that why its not completely going away? I read so many stories online that scare the crap out of me and just can't get the worry out of my mind and don't know what to do!
 Jan PA-C MPH - Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:53 pm

Dear shopgirlstl;
Your fear is neither irrational nor overstated. Breast cancer is a scary diagnosis that strikes women, often seemingly without any rhyme or reason. Don't worry, you're not doing anything to 'cause' this by touching the area. It's just a fact for many women, breasts are lumpy affairs. That makes it all the harder to pick out something abnormal from something that is a 'normal' lump.

The first step is to not feel guilty for advocating for your healthcare questions. The second step is to establish open and good communication with your primary care MD about your fears. Thirdly, understand your options for evaluation Mammogram, Ultrasound, digital Mammogram, MRI, and biopsy. While there are costs and risks associated with MRIs and invasive biopsy. You need to discuss with your physician where your comfort level lies. The reality is, we are at risk for many potential health problems every day, from the flu to car accidents to breast cancer. None of us can eliminate our risk for this disease, we can only understand our bodies, understand what the most effective screening tests are and appropriately minimize the risk.

This article provides a more in-depth overview of evaluation of an area of concern from risk stratification and a review of the spectrum of imaging modalities including biopsy.

Good Luck to you, this is only the beginning of a life-long vigilance for this disease and information is your greatest weapon to protect yourself.

 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:16 am

User avatar Hi shopgirlstl ,
The lump in your armpit is perhaps an accessory axillary breast tissue (heterotopic breast tissue). These usually become larger and painful during the menstrual periods (cyclical) & during pregnancy and lactation.Rarely they may even have a nipple.Treatment is surgical excision.
Other differential diagnoses are lymphangiomas, lipomas and ofcourse lymph nodes.I trust this information is useful to you.

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