The Day I Found  A Lump In My Breast  – My Story

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This Post Is Sponsored By Nuffnang and Genius 3D Mammography

It was mid December 2014 and I was doing life as normal and for some unknown reason (most likely checking which boob was more full of breast milk) I found a lump.  Initially I thought it might be a blocked milk duct but upon future investigation (my own doing) I was pretty sure it was not that.

It was one week before Christmas.  ONE WEEK!!!  We were due to go away on holidays camping for 2 weeks and I had just found a lump in my boob.  Over the first 24 hours I kept thinking do I wait to have it checked out till after all of the Christmas crazy or do I try and squeeze it in.

For me I had always said I would never be one of those people who found a possible problem and then put it off and put it off and then when I finally got it checked found out it was too late and if only I had of had it looked at a few months earlier.  With this in mind I went to the doctors to get a referral for a scan and spent an hour calling around to find a place that could fit  me in last minute.  Luckily I found myself a place.

So I went for my scan and they did confirm that there was a lump but they could not tell if it was an issue or not so they recommend I go for a biopsy.  At this point we are now 4 days off from Christmas day, 1 day off from going away for 2 weeks camping and I have been told if I don’t get the biopsy before Christmas then there will be at least a 2 week wait because of public holidays and places closing down over that holiday period.

So here I am with 3 kids, a big lump in my boob, Christmas in 4 days, camping holiday in 1 day, a biopsy that needed to happen and the stress of wondering if maybe I had some kind of breast cancer.  Yeah that was not fun.

So I sat for another hour session of phone calls to try and find a place at the Sunshine Coast, where we were headed for holidays, to see if anyone could fit me in before Christmas for a breast lump biopsy.

Luckily I found a place who could fit me in on Christmas Eve.  So off we went camping with my biopsy booked in.  So on Christmas Eve I rocked up at the biopsy clinic to be met by a 30 year old surfer biopsy dude who was responsible for my biopsy.  It took 4 needles before we were able to get a sample due to all of the breast milk floating around in there.  Somewhat entertaining and awkward all at the same time.  Nice guy though lol.

After the biopsy it was going to take 1-2 weeks to get any results back due to the time of year.  All I knew is I had done everything I could at that point and I just had to wait.

For me there was good news at the end of all of this.  There were no cancer cells … woohoo … but they still could not tell me what the mystery lump was? It’s still there and still unknown but they did know that it was nothing to worry about at this point.

Since going through the process of breast scans and biopsy I have since found out about Genius 3D mammography.

Genius 3D Mammography   Where is my nearest centre

Did you know that traditional digital mammography provides a two-dimensional (2D) picture of the breast? It is the most common screening method used in Australia, however it has some limitations. In 2D imaging, overlapping structures in the breast may hide cancers and normal breast tissue may mimic the appearance of breast cancer, often leading to further testing and unnecessary patient anxiety[i],[ii]

I had no idea about this technology when I was going through my lump investigations.

Studies with Genius 3D mammography show cancers and abnormalities are found earlier; significantly improving the detection rate compared with 2D mammography alone.[iii],[iv],[v]

  • Detects 41% more invasive cancers (the ones that have spread outside of the milk duct into surrounding, healthy tissues).8,[vi]
  • Reduces false-positives, decreasing recall rates by 15-40% – sparing women the anxiety of being called back for further testing.6,7,8
  • Masses, distortions and asymmetric densities are better visualised.[vii]
  • May reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies.10
  • Increases cancer detection in women with dense breasts (e.g. women in their 40s). 6,7,[viii],[ix]

I feel like this is a massive win for women to get better detection and diagnosis of breast lumps.  If I had of known this was available this would have been my chosen course of action in my specific situation.

Breast cancer in Australia:

  • It is the most common cancer in women and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women.[x]
  • 15,600 Australian women are estimated to be diagnosed in 2015.[xi]
  • 1-in-8 Australian women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.[xii]
  • Having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk.[xiii]
  • 9-in-10 diagnosed do not have a family history of the disease.16

So while you are in the shower tonight ladies check over your breasts and in the event they you may find a lump (or you know someone who has) make sure to tell them about Genius 3D mammography.  You can find out all about it here

Footnotes to Research Below

[i] BreastScreen Victoria – www.breastscreen.org.au/Breast-Screening/The-Facts. Accessed March 2015.

[ii] Brodersen J, Siersma V. “Long-Term Psychosocial Consequences of False-Positive Screening Mammography.” The Annals of Family Medicine 2013 Mar;11(2):106-15.

[iii] Skaane P, Bandos A, Gullien R, et al. “Comparison of Digital Mammography Alone and Digital Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis in a Population-based Screening Program.” Radiology. 2013 Apr; 267(1):47-56. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

[iv] Rose S, Tidwell A, Bujnock L, et al. “Implementation of Breast Tomosynthesis in a Routine Screening Practice: An Observational Study.” American Journal of Roentengenology. 2013 Jun; 200(6): 1401-1408. Epub 2013 May 22.

[v] Friedewald S M, Rafferty E A, Rose S L, et al. “Breast cancer screening using tomosynthesis in combination with digital mammography.” JAMA. 2014;311(24):2499-2507. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.6095.

[vi] Cancer Australia – http://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer. Accessed March 2015.

[vii] Zuley M, Bandos A, Ganott M, et al. “Digital Breast Tomosynthesis versus Supplemental Diagnostic Mammographic Views for Evaluation of Noncalcified Breast Lesions.”  Radiology. 2013 Jan; 266(1):89-95. Epub 2012 Nov 9

[viii] Philpotts L, Raghu M, Durand M, et al. “Initial Experience With Digital Breast Tomosynthesis in Screening Mammography.” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society, Washington, D.C. May 3 2012).

[ix] Ciatto S, Houssami N, Bernardi D, et al. “Integration of 3D Digital Mammography with Tomosynthesis for Population Breast-Cancer Screening (STORM): A Prospective Comparison Study” The Lancet Oncology. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

[x] Cancer Australia – http://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-statistics. Accessed March 2015

[xi] Breast Cancer Network Australia – http://bcna.org.au/understanding-breast-cancer/. Accessed March 2015.

[xii] National Breast Cancer Foundation – www.nbcf.org.au/Research/About-Breast-Cancer.aspx. Accessed March 2015.

[xiii] National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre. Breast cancer risk factors: a review of the evidence. Sydney, NSW: NBOCC, 2009.

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Being a mum to 3 kids (one of them full time at home with me) and trying to juggle everything became pretty crazy.

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