What I wish I had known while waiting after a biopsy

December 3, 2017 - 09:25

Hello to all the beautiful courageous women that end up coming here looking for answers, support or reassurance, as I did too a few days ago.
Like some or most of you I also found changes in my breast and went to my GP to ask for a mammogram as I'm 48 and not covered by the national screening program yet.
What followed were 3 weeks of uncertainty and disbelief. After the mammogram I was sent for an ultrasound. After the ultrasound I had a biopsy of 4 samples and 4 titanium tiny pins inserted into my breast to highlight the precise location from my samples. And then was sent home to wait for 2 weeks.
On the first week I got very busy at work and tried to stay positive thinking breastcancer was not a death sentence anymore and that although a terrifying experience, I was sure to have caught it early...but on the second week I found by pure chance a hard small lump over my left collarbone that drained all the blood from my face and changed my mood, energy and positivity, wondering if the cancer could have spread and could it actually be terminal...That became the most stressful week of my life just waiting for the results....
And the results came back negative, I did not have breast cancer, but I broke down at the clinic sobbing uncontrollably for 5 minutes. When I finally managed to compose myself I told the doctor waiting for 2 weeks to know whether you have breast cancer is inhumane and unbereable, and another unnecessary suffering inflicted on women in this island. And that's when he told me what I wish I had known before embarking on this journey!
Speaking of the Breast clinic I attended in Dublin he said when they highly suspect breast cancer in a woman the team talks to the woman on the same day of the biopsy to prepare her for bad news, and they prioritise her biopsy results to avoid her a long waiting time. He said at no point the medical team reviewing my case suspected I had cancer, and he did apologise if anyone in the clinic made me think so, which I did feel it was the case with every single nurse wishing me good luck, and my radiologist really very worried over my mass of extended scar tissue without having suffered any injury or trauma in the area...
So I wanted to share this piece of information with you just in case someone else is in a similar situation...Luckily for me I don't know how fast they would have acted had I got breast cancer, but I do want to believe him and trust that when something is wrong with any of us, our health system kicks into action ASAP without punitive delays that only add to the stress and anxiety of the millions of people facing this disease.

December 12, 2017 - 09:24

Hi there, It was very kind of you to share your experience. You went through such an anxious time as I am sure many ladies can relate to. It was then exacerbated by you feeling a hard lump on your collarbone and your radiologist very worried and all the nurses wishing you good luck. I’m glad the consultant explained how they would prioritise a suspicious lump, it was just a pity you didn’t know this but now you have explained this kindly to other ladies. Anyone who is ever worried can also ring our Nurseline on 1800 200 700 Mon - Fri 10am to 4pm to discuss their concerns as it certainly is a very anxious time for all.

Kind regards,

cancernursline@irishcancer.ie