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Question
Posted by: Finfoo | 2011/02/17

BREAST EXAM

I hope you will be honest if you think I''''m being over-cautious. I''''m 30 years old and have several lumps in my breast which I discovered last year Nov doing a self-exam. There was also a prominent one in my armpit. My doctor did an excision and removed the lump in my armpit and sent it in for histology which came back negative for cancer. I felt relieved but still concerned over the lumps in my breast so requested he refer me for further investigation and he sent me to have a mammogram. When I got to the radiologist''''s office, they refused to give me a mammogram, claiming I was too young to be at genuine risk of breast cancer and insisted I have an ultrasound instead. The technician could feel the lump, but could not pick up an recognisable abnormality so called in the radiologist doctor to have a second look. He ran the transducer over the area of concern, could also feel a lump, but not pick it up on the screen and hesitantly told me that is was normal breast tissue. The technician (a woman) then asked him if he was sure a mammogram was not necessary to dismiss any missed poosibilities and he said, no, she is too young to be at genuine risk of breast cancer. Instead of leaving feeling relieved, I feel as though my concerns were not thoroughly investigated and perhaps not taken seriously enough. Am I being ridiculous? Why would my doctor request a mammogram if it were not necessary? Should I just let it go now and move on with my life?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Hallo Finfoo
The reason why they don't want to do mammograms on young women is because the radiation of the breast in itself is a risk for cancer. A mammogram is also not diagnostic for breast cancer, one would look at a combination of factors:cancer is suspected if it is a persistent lump that is not "slippery" between your fingers if you examine, that does not "wax and wane" with your menstrual cycle, with certain features on sonar, and calcification on mammogram.
If you are really worried about the lumps, the better way to go about it is to see a surgeon and to ask him to do a needle biopsy of the lump/s for you if he is unsure about whether it is cancerous or not (they put a needle into the lump and pull out a small amount of tissue that they can send to the pathologist for confirmation)If you have a strong family history of breast cancer (mother sister or aunt has breast cancer) this may be the way to go. It is not as painful as it sounds, they can use local anaesthetic when doing it.
Dr Bets

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Our users say:
Posted by: Cyberdoc | 2011/02/17

Hallo Finfoo
The reason why they don't want to do mammograms on young women is because the radiation of the breast in itself is a risk for cancer. A mammogram is also not diagnostic for breast cancer, one would look at a combination of factors:cancer is suspected if it is a persistent lump that is not "slippery" between your fingers if you examine, that does not "wax and wane" with your menstrual cycle, with certain features on sonar, and calcification on mammogram.
If you are really worried about the lumps, the better way to go about it is to see a surgeon and to ask him to do a needle biopsy of the lump/s for you if he is unsure about whether it is cancerous or not (they put a needle into the lump and pull out a small amount of tissue that they can send to the pathologist for confirmation)If you have a strong family history of breast cancer (mother sister or aunt has breast cancer) this may be the way to go. It is not as painful as it sounds, they can use local anaesthetic when doing it.
Dr Bets

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