I found a lump on the left side of my left breast(near my underderarm) a few days ago. I am 39, in great health and my last breast exams were about 6 months ago, though I have never had a mammogram, partly because I was too young but also partly because I am somewhat distrustful of western medecine.
The lump moves around but is a little hard, about the size of a pea. I checked the mirror image(the other side) and it also feels knobbly but not exactly the same. The lump I am worried about definitely can be isolated and is more prominent.
A lady who is into natural health, recommended getting thermograpy as it is not radiation and works better to detect cancer than an ultrasound in her opinion.
I would really rather not get a mammogram as I feel that all it will do, besides give me radiation is confirm that there is a lump and then surgery will probably be recommended. I thought that an ultra sound would work well, but this lady is saying that thermography would work best and is available sometimes even at a chiropractor's office.
I don't even know where to start looking or what to do and any recommendations would be welcome, especially from those with a knowledge and interest in natural care rather than allopathic.
My zip code is 94402 in California.
I have rather lumpy breasts, always have had and actually had a benign lump removed when I was 31 in the same breast. I do not drink coffee, eat meat or dairy, drink much and am not on any borth control with hormones. No one in my family has ever had cancer that I know of. Please help.
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Hi Diane!March 3, 2010 - 6:29pm
What a day! I got to make an appointment with a nurse practioner nearby, this morning and she felt that the lump should be looked at, so I was immediately scheduled for an ultrasound. I went to a wonderful woman's specialty Breast wing at Mill's peninsula hospital nearby where I was convinced to have my first mammogram, as they have the really fancy cutting edge digital ones which are no worse for you than sitting in front of a computer screen!
I had the mammogram....that was SO not fun but could've been worse. The ultrasound wasn't bad at all. They could tell almost immediately that the lump I was concerned about was more than likely some kind of complicated cyst. The doctor encouraged me to have a punch biopsy. He said that I would have the results tomorrow. He DID say that there was a 90% chance that the lump was nothing but a cyst but wanted to make sure.
I feel so relieved. Everyone was very nice. Thanks for your wonderful advice and help too, Diane.
One thing that I found out is that if you have very dense tissue (especially if you are at the younger side of the mammogram crowd), that the mammogram shows very little. They said that for me, the mammogram looked perfect so it was the untrasound that really showed the lump I was worried about.
The biopsy was very painful and I am sitting here now with an ice pack on my boob! LOL
Though I am still a little concerned about going the traditional route, I feel good that no one pushed me into anything or made me feel bad about my "hippy dippy" concerns!
Hi Anon - Indeed, you did have quite a day! I'm glad you were able to get the support you needed right away, and that you felt comfortable with the individuals you encountered as well as the procedures. You're fortunate to have a women's specialty breast service in your community, from what you've described it sounds like the people there were kind and caring. Please write back and let us know the outcome of your biopsy, and in the meantime I hope the ice pack on your boob provides some relief. Frozen peas are good too. :-) Take care, PatMarch 3, 2010 - 6:53pm
So glad you found EmpowHer. Let's see what we can figure out for you.
First of all, please know that most breast lumps - about 80 percent - turn out to be benign. You probably do know that since you had a lump removed before, but I thought it was worth saying again.. Here's what the Mayo Clinic says about when to see a doctor for a breast lump:
If I were you, I would make an appointment with an ob/gyn for an evaluation. Gynecologists are specialists and will, naturally, be more versed in this area. It's not uncommon for a woman's gynecologist to BE her primary care doctor, in fact.
A good gynecologist will evaluate your lump -- remember, she or he examines thousands of breasts every month -- and talk to you about recommendations.
The best way to find a gynecologist that will fit your needs is to ask friends or coworkers about theirs. Women generally are happy to share this information, because a good gynecologist can make a lot of difference in her life. Ask about their bedside manner, whether they seem hurried or take their time, whether they offer lots of information, and whether they seem like they would be open to working with someone who may prefer natural healing solutions.
If you don't have friends or co-workers you can ask, the next best thing is to do a search of the doctors in your area and visit their web sites. Their web sites will give you a starting point. Is it clear and informative? Is it easy to use? Does it tell you everything you want to know? Are there profiles of the doctors that give you an idea as to specialties? One thing that can help with this is a site where real people evaluate doctors, like kudzu.com. You have to take the reviews with a grain of salt, because you don't know the person writing them. But they can be very helpful. Here's a kudzu page on gynecologists in your area and what reviewers have said about them:
And to find a naturopathic physician (there are naturopathic gynecologists, too), you can go to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website and put in your zip code, and you will get a listing of those in your area. Here's what came up when I put in your zip code:
OK. Let's talk about the mammogram-ultrasound-thermography thing.
All three tools are valuable, and they complement one another. But they don't replace one another. Even the site breastthermography.com tells you that thermography is not a replacement for mammography. Here's a page where they show you the ultrasound, thermographic and mammogram images of breast tissue and talk about the differences:
When you are screening for doctors, you might also consider calling each one on the phone and asking the office staff if the doctors there use all three techniques for examining breast tissue. If you find a doctor who does, it may be that she or he will be glad to use thermography first, since that is your preference, and only follow up with mammography after talking with you about the need for it.
Only a biopsy can tell whether a lump ultimately has cancer cells in it. None of these tests can tell us that for sure. These tests simply help the doctor know what they are looking at, and where.
There is also something available called a digital mammogram, which is stored on a computer rather than on film and uses less radiation than a traditional mammogram. It costs more, so it's not used as often. Here's a page describing it from breastcancer.org:
And here's a page from the Susan B. Komen web site on new and emerging technologies:
You've got lots in your favor here. You are young, healthy and have wonderful life habits. You have only recently noticed this lump. It's probably not worrisome, but if it is, you've found it early. Your task now is to find a doctor who YOU like to evaluate the lump, so you can talk to that doctor about the possible methods of doing so.
Does this information help?March 3, 2010 - 10:38am