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Cancer

Possible Means For Breast Cancer Testing

08/18/2008

Question:

Hello! I`m 27 and a couple of months ago I noticed a painless, hard lump next to and a little under my nipple in my left breast. The skin covering the lump protrudes slightly and I have noticed in the last week or so, a couple of veins protruding around the area as well. I have an appointment at a walk-in clinic today because I don`t have a primary care physcian and everyone I called said that I needed to have a referal before an ultrasound or mamogram could be scheduled. What struck me as odd was that of all the hospitals and clinics I called, every person told me that it was probally nothing to worry about, that anything that should raise concern would be extremly rare. Then I decided to do some research, thinking that maybe I was overreacting. I read a ton of stories of young women that were diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer because their doctors, knowing how very seldom it affects young women, failed to give them a mamogram or ultrasound. My question is, if my doctor today says this does not warrant further testing, how can I be sure? Can I demand to have furthur testing? I know my body and I know that something is wrong. I`m 98% sure, after reading up on breast cancer, that it is probably harmless and is nothing to worry about. But, it is my body and I dont want "you`re too young to have breast cancer" to be my diagnosis. I want to know exactly what the cause of this lump is. Can I demand a referral or am I just out of luck?

Answer:

Yes, you definitely need breast imaing and unless this is a simple cyst, a biopsy or needle aspiration also. It is uncommon for very young women to develop breast cancer, so you should not be too worried but this does need follow through until you are sure what this lump represents.

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Response by:

Paula  Silverman, MD Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University