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Breast Cancer/Found a lump in breast

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Hi Dr Nordquist,

I'm hoping you can give some advice regarding an issue I'm very worried about.

I'm 27, female, and live in the UK. I have no familial history of breast cancer. I am a light smoker, I consume a lot of soya products as I do not drink cow's milk, and I have never had any children.

I'm a student nurse, and we recently had lectures on breast cancer and women's health. I have always been a little worried as I have always had very large breasts, no matter how slim I am they always remain very large. I worried that the size of the breasts would make it difficult to detect a lump, if there was one. So I would examine my breasts carefully. A few months ago, I felt a lump in my right breast, but I also felt a lump of equal size in the left breast. So I didn't worry too much.

Before Christmas I had a placement in a critical care environment, which was busy and stressful, so I didn't eat very much for a while. I lost 9lbs, and noticed my breasts seemed slightly smaller - however the right breast seemed slightly larger than the left. It was fuller and firmer than the left. The difference was not noticeable through clothing and barely noticeable looking at the breasts, so I just put it down to the weight loss.

On Friday evening, I felt my breasts and felt a huge, hard, obvious lump in my right breast. There isn't an equal lump in the left. It is not painful, but when I poke it it is uncomfortable. The right breast feels tender, and aching, and the right axilla region feels tender and uncomfortable. My right shoulder also aches slightly.

As I felt the lump on Friday evening, my doctors surgery was closed, and it is closed for the weekend. I have a busy day on Monday, so I planned to go to the doctor on Tuesday.

Is it safe to wait that long? Should I go to hospital instead, is this urgent?

I'm really really scared. I have an essay due in next week and I can't focus on it all I can think about is the fact that I may have cancer. I've never been ill before so the thought that I may be seriously ill is scary to say the least and I just don't know what to do.

Please can you advise on:

What (statistically) are the chances that the lump is cancer?

Should I go to the hospital now or wait until Tuesday to see my doctor?

I know the prognosis would depend on the stage but overall, is this a disease that responds well to treatment?

Thank you very much for reading, and for your time, I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,

Charlotte

Answer
Hi Charlotte, at your age your risk of breast cancer - especially with no family history of it - is still very low. Even so I think you should be checked by a doctor soonest, but one or two days or so either way does not matter. Since we still do not know what this is and I do not like to play prophet I can at present not give you any prognosis. But mammography in combination with MRI breast scans, ultrasound breast scans and needle biopsies should quickly give us a diagnosis. Please do keep me posted! Good luck! Best regards!


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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.

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I`m a doctor of medicine and a specialist in radiation therapy and medical oncology. I have long experience in diagnostics and treatment of breast tumours.

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I'm a Doctor of Medicine and specialist in Medical Oncology and Radiation Therapy educated & trained in Sweden. Now retired. Background in Radiation Therapy, Medical Oncology, Radiation Protection, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Gynecological Oncology, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Cytology,Hematology and Internal Medicine. M.D. from the faculty of medicine, Royal Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Have also been an exchange student at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem Israel. Former medical consultant, Swedish National Board of Radiation Protection. Former Police Surgeon and Medical Examiner, Stockholm Police Department. Former Chief Medical Officer, The Royal Guards, The Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Household Brigade, Royal Swedish Army Medical Corps.You can also reach me on: http://www.lifestylerescue.com/expert/health-fitness-advice/dr-claes-gustaf/128 I have no restrictions on the number of questions there.

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