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What to expect during my appointment

What to expect during my appointment

Posted by VWrex on Nov 5, 2019 7:10 am

Hi! I’m 33 years old and found a hard, painless lump on my left breast a week ago. Saw my GP yesterday, who referred me to the breast clinic at St Michael’s. They called me within the hour for an appointment in a week, for a mammogram and an ultrasound (super fast, but that kind of freaked me out)

I’m hoping someone can tell me what I can expect from that appointment, how long I can expect to wait for results, etc. I’ve been Googling that info but not really finding anything. If this kind of thread exists, a link to that would also be fine :)

Thanks for your time :)

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by Runner Girl on Nov 5, 2019 10:02 am

Hello VWrex‍ ,

Welcome to the site.  You'll find that Dr. Google is not the place you want to go.  A lot of the information there is old and outdated and does nothing more than scare the dickens out of you.  You'll find a whole lot of information here in the forum for breast cancer https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewcategory/39.  

It's actually really good that they are moving so quickly on starting your testing.  Catching it early is a very good thing indeed.  The mammogram and ultrasound are probably the least invasive of the exams.  The technicians are truly angels and do their very best to not make the process painful.  I've never found the mammogram to be intolerable, more like a quick pinch and it's over.  The ultrasound is easy, you lie back on the table while the technician does the procedure.  It has been my experience that the results are generally at your doctor by the end of the following day, sometimes sooner.  

I was diagnosed with breast cancer May 2018.  I've completed surgery, chemo, radiation, herceptin and now take tamoxifen for the next 5-10 years.  

I'm going to tag a few of our other ladies to add their comments as well:  Kims1961‍ , ashcon‍ , Lianne_adminCCS‍ , LPPK‍ 

Try to maintain your sanity during this waiting period.  Keep yourself busy with other things, i.e. clean house, go to the gym, work.  There is nothing you can do or think of that will change anything and you'll just worry yourself into a dark place.  Until you know for sure what this is try to remain positive - its hard, I know.

Runner Girl
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by ashcon on Nov 5, 2019 11:40 am

Hi VWrex

This is a great place to be, regardless of what is found (or not found) with this next round of testing. 
(Thanks for the tag, Runner Girl‍ ).

I was 35 when I discovered a hard lump in my right breast.  Urgent mammo and ultrasound had me scared, but I was very thankful for the diligence and attention, as it turned out to be nothing more than an inflamed gland (or something) and it went away on its own. 
Fast forward 18 years and (dammit) a lump in the same breast turns out to be cancer this time. 

​​​​​​When I was diagnosed this time, the doctor asked if I had an MRI done at the time when that first lump was discovered years ago. I didn't  but wish I did, in hindsight. 
So if you can, ask what other screening will be done to identify what exactly this lump is (if they say it's not cancer) and (I can't overstate this enough) GET COPIES OF THE RADIOLOGISTS REPORTS. You may have to pay $$ for it  but it's worth it. Then take those reports to your GP and ask them to walk you through them. 
Being aware of your own breast health (and health in general) is the best favour you can do for yourself! 

Here is a link about Diagnosing Breast Cancer.. Check out the sublinks on this page  including questions to ask about a diagnosis. 

Most recalls end up being of no concern, so I hope this is just a wake up call for you. 
(I wish this site existed 18 years ago when I had my wake up call! I would have been much more diligent in my self exams and known what to ask the doctors.) 

Let us know how things pan out. We're cheering for you! 
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by VWrex on Nov 5, 2019 12:03 pm

You'll find that Dr. Google is not the place you want to go.

Truth. Dr. Google is the worst Doctor. I was trying to find some answers on what to expect, and it took me down some rabbit hole of worst case scenarios and how breast cancers among people my age are rare but often agressive. Trying to distract myself with self-care (gym, hobbies, etc) until then. Glad the appointment is soon, though. I wasn't even doing a breast exam, I just grazed my breast with my hand while getting dressed when I found the lump. So weird. 

GET COPIES OF THE RADIOLOGISTS REPORTS

Thanks for the advice -- I had not thought of that. I always worry about asking "too many questions" or "bothering" doctors because they know what they're doing and are busy, but I'll make sure to ask for that. 

I really appreciate your support. I feel silly, like I'm "worrying about nothing" since it may very well be nothing, and I appreciate you taking the time to encourage and listen. 

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by LPPK on Nov 6, 2019 9:45 am

VWrex‍ welcome to the site.   Thanks for the tag Runner Girl‍   .My radiation oncologist told me this recently, "Women have lumps and bumps that come and go in the breast regularly"... There are so many reasons other than cancer for them. It is a good idea to go with what you know right now...you have a lump and it will be checked out soon. Don't worry about something that might or might not be. I say this looking back at my experience.  At the time I was very concerned and thankfully Google did not exist then. 
I found a lump in my breast when I was 40.  My GP quickly sent me for a mammogram and lots of small calcifications showed up .  I was referred to the St. Joseph Hospital London Breast  Care Program where every six months I was given a mammograms and a doctor examined my breasts for the next 3 years.  Whatever the lump was, it disappeared and has never come back.  I was discharged from the program.  Once I was 50 I  was referred to the Ontario Breast Screening program for mammograms every 2 years.  I am so thankful for that program.
Similar to ashcon, for me it was 24 years later that cancer was found during a routine mammogram when I was 64.. it was in the other breast.  I'm pleased to say that 2 years post treatment (lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, radiation and now Tamoxifen for 5 years)  I am NED (no evidence of disease).

Mammogram results come back very quickly to your GP in 1 or 2 days.  If anything suspicious is noticed you will be called back for further testing.
Since you are scheduled for both a mammogram and ultrasound your doctors will have lots of information on your lump.

Keep us updated when you get your results. 

 

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Nov 6, 2019 12:56 pm

VWrex‍ 
Hello and welcome to the site.
I wanted to just touch on the timing situation. We often read a lot into the timing. So soon "it must be serious". Not soon enough " it must be getting worse". I speak from experience here ha - I have said all these things. Truth is there are so many variables on timing as far as appointment waits, getting results back etc. For myself it was probably about 3-4 weeks from finding a lump to being diagnosed. Within that time was a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy, and appt with GP for results.
I know it is easier said than done, but try to hang in there and distract as much as possible. Try not to get too far ahead of yourself as far as "what ifs".

And NEVER feel like your questions are silly or that you are taking up a doctor's time or bothering them. If you go into your appointments with the questions you want answered written down, you can ensure you get them asked, answered and documented before you leave your appointment. You shouldn't have to leave an appointment not understanding what is going on or next steps or even who to contact if you have further questions later.

Keep us posted. We are listening.

Lianne
Thanks for the tag Runner Girl‍ 

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by VWrex on Nov 7, 2019 9:41 am

Thanks all -- I'll be sure to keep you posted. :)

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by VWrex on Nov 14, 2019 6:39 am

I wanted to give an update on my appointment, because you’ve all been so helpful, and so someone in my situation can have this info in the future.

I went to the breast clinic Tuesday and was checked in by the friendly receptionist. Once I had the gown on, waited a few minutes before being called in for my mammogram. Since it was my first, the tech took great care to explain what she was doing and how it would feel. I don’t doubt that for some they might hurt, but for me it was just some intense pressure but no pain. We chatted while she worked and it was done faster than I had expected. I went back to the waiting room and a few minutes later, I was called in for the ultrasound. The tech spent some time looking around and taking snapshots. She asked me if I had a cold recently, then went to review those with the doctor. A few minutes later, she and the doctor came back in. I was asked to show where the lump was. The doctor felt it, said it felt mobile, and looked at the mass with the ultrasound wand. She got a second opinion from another doctor on site who said it looked like a cyst. They did find some lymph nodes on the ultrasound but they think it’s from the cold so they want me to go back in 6 months for a follow up. Two days later, I also received a message from my GP telling me basically all of that, but I walked out of there knowing what the next step was and that everything is probably fine.

I know that for most women my age this is what an appointment like this might look like, but it’s still scary. If they come here I hope they find this thread and I hope it brings them a bit of comfort while they wait. I also know that in some cases, the outcome might be less positive. Regardless, I felt very well cared for and I know that if things had been more serious I was in good hands.

I wish you all lots of courage and strength, wherever your appointment takes you. ❤️

Re: What to expect during my appointment

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Nov 14, 2019 1:11 pm

VWrex‍ 
Good news! SO happy to hear of your outcome. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how it went. And you are right, for those going through a similar situation, this is a light that may help ease an anxious person waiting for their appointments and results.

Take care

Lianne