I have never posted on a forum like this before but am beside myself with worry. Nine weeks ago I gave birth to my beautiful daughter and approximately one week in I found a lump on my right breast, which I assumed to be a blocked duct. The midwife felt it and said much the same. I followed all advice to try and shift it but a week later it hadn’t gone so I went to the GP. She had a feel and said it was quite deep and I would have to massage hard at every feed, and that I should come back if it hadn’t gone after another week.
A week later, I went to the breastfeeding clinic at my hospital, due to that and problems with a very cracked/injured nipple on the same side. Both things had started to improve somewhat, in that the nipple seemed to be healing and both my husband and I felt that the lump/swelling had reduced. The lump had initially been very tender, perhaps from massaging it so much, but this was better too. I was told it would probably continue to improve but if it didn’t I may need to get some antibiotics from my GP.
Fastforward to my six week appointment and the lump had become more prominent again, although not painful. My GP referred me to the breast clinic and I had my appointment there this Tuesday. Upon initial examination I was told it was most likely a galactocele and to go downstairs for an ultrasound. I did this, and the radiographer initially said the breast tissue looked normal. However, when she then scanned my left breast for comparison she began to look more concerned. She went back to the right breast and said that my lymph nodes were reacting to something, possible a slow burning infection. She said that she would need to do biopsies on both the lump and the lymph nodes. I hadn’t really considered the idea of anything sinister and when I asked her if that’s how the scan had looked she told me in a very solemn tone that it looked “odd” and that she wouldn’t have done biopsies if she wasn’t concerned, given the risk of a milk fistula developing.
I was sent back upstairs to the doctor who performed the initial examination and we were joined my a specialist nurse, for support, which I found a bit weird. They said they weren’t sure what the lump was, that they weren’t calling it cancer at this stage and that I should “remain optimistic... but prepare for the worst”.
I came away feeling that they hadn’t done much to reassure me and I just had a sense that bad news was looming. I called the support nurse today and asked her, pretty much, to call a spade a spade. She told me that my scan hadn’t looked normal and that if I wasn’t breastfeeding they would be saying that they thought it was cancer. However, when the consultant looked over the scan he had commented that breastfeeding can sometimes muddy the waters and therefore they would need the biopsy results to confirm diagnosis.
Again, I didn’t feel at all reassured by her tone and was told that I should probably prepare for the worst and have someone with me at the appointment. I just can’t believe this is happening and every time I look at my daughter I feel so upset and tearful at the thought of not being around for her growing up. I have read online that pregnancy associated cancer tends to be more aggressive and has higher rates of fatality, which just terrifies me. I went through months of trying to conceive and a previous miscarriage in order to have my daughter and this all just feels so unfair. I’m not sure what I’m asking for from anyone here - perhaps some reassurance that false positives happen on ultrasounds (particularly when breastfeeding) or perhaps some positive stories of surviving postpartum breast cancer. It all just feels so hopeless right now.