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Suffer from anxiety - doctors aren't helping...

By February 17, 2010 - 11:09pm
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So i suffer from anxiety. I have had the month from hell. Diagnosed with IBS, then received a borderline result from a smear now i have a mega sore breast. VERY sore to touch so i thought because i was poking it quite hard to feel any lumps i bruised something. The pain is in my right breast bottom left area. I couldn't bare the thought of leaving it so i went to the hospital where one doc said if my senior doesn't want to see you you can go. He ended up coming in and had a feel and referred me on to a breast specialist as there was some hard swelling in the breast. I asked if i should worry where they both said no and they were being thourough. But i am freaking. My appointment is not until wednesday (hospital was on 5 days ago) and even though i'm 22 and people i've talked to saying it prob fibro tissue i'm still scared. I only have this firm like thing in my breast it's not small and it moves around not fixed. No other signs of cancer or anything. My doctors really didn't explain anything to me now i'm have sleepless nights and i can't leave my breast alone. The other thing to is it seems to get sorer if it is aggravated. My mums mum had breast cancer and i know that fibro cysts run through the family... wtf is it???

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HERWriter Guide

Dear jorjas

Thank you for your question; I'm sorry you're going through so much at such a young age.

I do have some good news for you: most lumps found in the breast are harmless and benign.

From our Encyclopedia, "Fibrocystic disease occurs when there are fluid-filled lumps surrounded by a scar-like capsule of tissue in the breasts.

Although harmless, these lumps can sometimes cause pain (mastalgia) that recurs with the menstrual cycle. The greatest problem with fibrocystic disease is telling the difference between this condition and breast cancer . Some forms of fibrocystic disease are more common in women who go on to develop breast cancer.

CausesThe glandular tissue of the breasts cycles monthly with menstrual periods, enlarging to prepare for a pregnancy, and then diminishing if one does not occur. This cycling causes cysts and excess fibrous tissue to build up. Virtually all women will have some form of this condition during their reproductive years, though many will not seek treatment for it.

Risk FactorsAll women between puberty and menopause are at risk for this condition.

Symptoms◦Multiple lumps (cysts) in both breasts that cycle with menstrual periods
◦Cysts may produce no symptoms or cause pain (mastalgia) and tenderness
◦Although at any given time a fibrocystic lump may be difficult to tell apart from a cancerous mass, its rapid disappearance and reappearance helps distinguish this condition from breast cancer
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. There are generally only two concerns that arise from these symptoms:

◦Are you uncomfortable?
◦Do you have breast cancer?

Tests may include the following:

◦Mammogram (x-ray of the breasts)
◦Needle aspiration of a lump
◦Excisional biopsy of a suspicious area

It is important to note that mammograms alone cannot reliably distinguish between a benign cyst and a cancer. A lump that does not show significant monthly changes must be evaluated by other means. One of these means is aspiration (see below).

TreatmentOnce it has been determined that the lump is not a cancer, it can be left alone. If the lump's identity is still in doubt, it should be biopsied.

After numbing the area with a local anesthetic (eg, Novocain), a small needle on a syringe is inserted into the lump to draw fluid out. If the lump disappears, cancer is highly unlikely. If the lump remains, or if the fluid withdrawn is bloody, it will need to be biopsied to see if a cancer is present.

There are two types of biopsies:

◦A fine needle biopsy is nearly identical to an aspiration. The only difference is that a tiny piece of tissue is also drawn out of the lump and sent to the laboratory to be identified under a microscope.
◦An excisional biopsy removes the entire lump through a surgical incision. This can be done with local anesthesia (eg, Novocain) if the lump is small and superficial. Otherwise you may have to undergo a somewhat more extensive operation, but it is still considered minor surgery.

Once cancer has been satisfactorily ruled out, fibrocystic disease may be safely treated with observation and conservative measures, including:

◦Pain relievers
◦Local heat application
◦Highly supportive bra

For particularly painful fibrocystic disease, there are a few hormonal drugs (eg, danazol or tamoxifen ) that may reduce the symptoms, but they have significant side effects and should be used in only severe cases and for as short a time as possible.

Some women with fibrocystic diseases who regularly consume caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, or chocolate) may find relief by eliminating it from their diet. Also, vitamin E (400 IU daily) may help some women."

You can read a lot more on our special Fibrocystic Disease page here : http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/fibrocystic-disease#definition

I know how difficult it is to wait - if you were on vacation the time would go by in a flash and now that you are waiting to see a doctor, the time will crawl.

Breast cancer is not common at all with women at your age - but it does happen; I'm sure you have read this. However, it's more likely than not that you have these cysts rather than breast cancer. We cannot assure you of this, of course, but I want you to know as many outcomes as possible.

Sleeplessness and anxiety as you wait, is normal. Taking medication to "fix" normal is generally not a good idea, especially if it's a short-term issue, it should pass once your health scare is resolved.

If you anxiety is long term and and not necessarily related to your health specifically, I hope you are talking to someone about this and working on resolving the problem. Are you?

Until your appointment, consider lots of warm baths, lighthearted movies and books, chatting with friends and taking plenty of exercise. Keeping yourself busy will make the time go by more quickly. Don't read up too much about the possibilities or you may make yourself even more anxious. While it's good to be prepared, don't over-analyze or you'll upset yourself.

When you see the breast specialist, I think you'll feel a lot better. It's good to start getting to the root of the problem instead of being in no-man's land, not knowing what the heck is happening.

You have three days to go so hang tight and you will get through the weekend, I promise. Do positive, fun things with positive, fun people.

Do you have family support nearby? Will you update us as early as you can next week to let us know what's going on?

February 19, 2010 - 1:08pm
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