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Breast Cancer

Missed breast cancer

12/04/2007

Question:

I noticed a flattening of my right breast while shampooing my hair back in May. I also felt a Lump. Went to my GYN, she said no worries, mammo in Dec was fine. I have been told for years that I have very dense breasts. So now the lump feels larger, I have thickening in other areas also. When I lift my arms over my head, the indentation is still there and I can see a change on the opposite side of my breast, slight flattening. Was sent for mammo and ulrasound, both negative. Techs can feel the lump and see the flattened area. MRI was ordered, which showed fibroglandular tissue in both breast, more on the right. When I bend over at a 90 degree angle and look at my breasts, they look different. Standing staight up the right looks fuller. When leaning over I can feel a large round mass. Is it possible to have a breast cancer that is not picked up on any of these studies? I am very concerned becasue this abnormality has gotten larger since May, and I can feel a mass and thickening of more area. I also know that having dense breasts increases your risk for breast cancer. I do have an appointment with a general surgeon to get another opinion on this. Any help would be appreciated.

Answer:

It is possible to miss an abnormality despite doing all these tests although the probability is very low. MRI is very sensitive and in general has a very low chance of missing small lesions. But if you are able to feel a lump and you feel it is growing, it is best to biopsy this lesion. I think you are doing the right thing by getting a second opinion. If this surgeon feels any abnormality it is best to biopsy it. He or she should also look into your other risk factors for developing breast cancer to help decide further course of action.

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Response by:

Bhuvaneswari  Ramaswamy, MD Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, MD
Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University