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Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

Ok, so I feel a little weird posting to this sight without a cancer diagnosis. I have been reading so many of your inspiring stories and you ladies amaze me with the strength and bravery that each of you posess!!!
I do have a question though....I was diagnosed with abnormal cells in my left breast after an "MRI guided biopsy" last week. The surgeon wants to remove the remainder of the 3 cm abnormal cell area by a wire guided lumpectomy next week. I'm not really sure whether to still be concerned that these cells could have a malignancy in them in the remaining area that wasn't biopsied or is this just a precaution? Also, what happens in the area where the tissue is removed? Is it visible from the outside, like in a divet or something? Or is it even noticeable? What kind of down time can I expect? Is it similar to the biopsy recovery? A little nervous, I must say....

Kylez's picture
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

It sounds like your surgeon wants to remove the abnormal cell area with a lumpectomy, is that right? If so, the path report will tell if it is cancer or not. I pray that it won't be. I can't answer as to what the area will look like as I don't know where it is on your breast or how deep it might be. Your surgeon should answer all of these questions for you. Do you have another appt. with him soon? If not, please call his office and tell them that you still have a lot of questions that you'd like to get answered before you agree to further surgery.

Good luck,


Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

Yes he is planning to remove the rest of the area that was seen in the mammo and MRI. I have only spoke with his assistant since i got the results so hoping to ask questions tomorrow at pre-op.


abrub's picture
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

I had my lumpectomy on Tuesday, and am awaiting the pathology - hoping for benign.

I had an ultra-sound guided biopsy 10 days ago, followed by a wire-guided lumpectomy this week. I have no idea what I'll look like when the swelling goes down, but it is the least of my worries. Although I, too, don't have a breast cancer diagnosis (and am hoping to stay that way when the pathology comes back) I have been diagnosed and treated for appendix cancer. Believe me, whatever they need to do to you to assure you that you don't have cancer, or to get rid of the cancer at the earliest time is worth the insults and scars you may end up sporting. My belly is a major road map of scars, but over all, I'm healthy and doing everything again.

What you are going through is no fun - I know, I'm doing the exact same thing - but you'll get through it. And hopefully, both of us will come out clean.


Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

I guess we are in the same canoe...lol
I'm sorry to hear about the appendix cancer. I've never heard of thst type of cancer. Glad you are over that and hopefully the results will come back benign this time.

How was the lumpectomy? I wasnt really sure about what to expect. Since my surgeon's assistant called with the results and informed me of what he wanted to do about it… I wasn't really thinking clear enough to know what kind of questions to ask right then. Ya know?

Was your lump discovered by you or found in the mammogram? Mine was found in mammo and I cannot feel it. Just curious. What does abnormal cells mean?

I have my pre-op tomorrow so hopefully I can ask questions then.


abrub's picture
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

Neither of my lumps was able to be felt. They found one in my mammo, then called me back for a localized ultrasound where they found what they thought was the same lump. Then a few days later, I had the ultrasound-guided biopsy, where they removed samples, and left a marker. When they did the mammo right after the biopsy, they saw that they'd biopsied a lump that hadn't appeared on the mammo, and not the original lump. Despite my biopsy coming back benign, with the second lump, and considering the type of intraductal papilloma that the first one was, the decision was made both had to come out. I also had an MRI to make sure nothing else was hiding in there.

Because of the awkward location of my 2 lumps (very close to the chest wall, which is why they didn't both show on the mammo), the wire placement was difficult, and more uncomfortable that for most people.

I then went straight from radiology to surgery, where I was sedated, tho not given general anesthesia. However, as far as I was concerned, I was completely out for the surgery. I was sore when I awoke. You may see on other postings that I've had some post-op complications. My surgeon thinks that is because they used a pain med that she doesn't normally like for during surgery (Toradol) because it is an NSAID, and can cause increased bleeding. However, I can't tolerate the standard opiates, so they had to give me something. Hence increased bleeding meant a huge hematoma. This was exacerbated by the fact that the surgeon had to remove two areas to get both masses, tho she went in through a single incision.

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't uncomfortable. You will want good sturdy sports bras to wear round the clock, and keep extra ice packs around to stuff in your bra after surgery. I'm large-breasted to begin with, so the extra swelling means massive weight, which makes it even more uncomfortable for me. (I also have a history in every procedure I've had of having the rarer complications.)

But now I'm hoping that once I get my pathology back, this trip is over. It's not a fun ride.

Ask lots of questions at your pre-op.

Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

My bc was found on a mammogram. It showed microcalcifications and that alerted them that it might be bc. I then had a biopsy done and it was bc. Be sure and ask all of your questions and if possible, take someone with you that can hear what they say too. My hubby even took a tape recorder to my appointments as we were both so upset that we were afraid that neither of us would hear everything.

Good luck and post what your doctor says.


Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2012

in December last year...however they also found a microscopic mass in my sentinel lymph node so I wound up back on the table three weeks later for a bi-lateral mastectomy. The lumpectomy was a breeze and I noticed nothing on my breast but the incision scar. The symetry was the same...of course it depends on where your mass is located...

Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

Did your biopsy result show a malignancy or just abnormal cells? My biopsy was benign but had abnormal cells. Im assuming abnormal cells turn into cancer cells if left in there......have you ever heard of someones biopsy results showing abnormal cells and then the cells that were removed in the lumpectomy being cancer??? Just wondering if anyone has ever experienced anything like that.

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

Ok I can answer only some of your questions. I had a lumpectomy due to an aggressive breast cancer and my surgeon was on vacation so it was 3 weeks before the words "you have cancer" and surgery. I took two weeks off (merely my choice). If I had not had to have lymph nodes removed I would have been able to return to a light duty job that same night.

When the doctor did the biopsy he guessed the tumor was 3 cm but admitted that he coudld be off on that guess. Three weeks later when the tumor was removed they found it was 6.6 cm at it's largest dimension. It as if I have a boob and 3/4 or a boob and 80%. I do not regularly wear my prostetic as I am able to camoflage the difference in size quite well. I do use it for big occasions. It is not uncomfortable or anything, but I got it just in case I return to a proffessional job rather than a blue collar worker. Prior to getting the prostetic I used a couple of shoulder pads, However they shifted around as I worked over the course of a day.

Now I cannot answer about the abnormal cells. However this may be a way to assist you in thinking about those cells. When I had my postoperative mamogram the mamo report stated there were suspicious cells along the incision line of my original lumpectomy. I was told that this particular ex ray reader was a bit on the cautious side. I spoke to the surgeon and we both agreed on this. "Lets get those suspicious cells out of there with a re-incision surgery." We both thought it was a good idea because I had such a large tumor. I of course was a bit more scared about it than he was since it was my life. However, after the surgery the pathology report stated no cancer. The benefit of this second surgery is as follows. No they were not cancer cells, but if they look a little funky to the radiologist then I may get the same response from each radiologist that reads that mamogram. The surgeon got them all so the next time I go in for my mamogram on the lumpectomy breast there should be no questions about the breast tissue and they will have a decent sample to compare it to in the years to come. Having a nice clean lumpecomy mamo to compare it to each year was well worth the extra hassle of removing tissue that turned out to be noncancerous. So think it over and trust your gut.

Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks so much for the response. It really helps hearing what others have experienced as it gives me an idea of what to expect. Did you have an mri biopsy? I was just wondering why the big difference in the size of the mass from what was expected. I figured an MRI was fairly accurate. I'm really new at this so Im sure my questions seem really naive.....

abrub's picture
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

similar to the MRI biopsy, in that the scanner is used to locate the tumor so that samples may be taken.

In my case, even tho the samples were benign, because they found another tumor there, and because of the type of benign tumor, my surgeon wanted all questionable materials removed. She advised me to have both masses completely removed, with good margins, including the benign one. The peace of mind knowing that a radiologist won't see the remainder of the tumors on my next mammo and start wondering again is well worth it. All the odd tissue is now gone, and as of today has been declared benign.

And yes, surgery is uncomfortable, but it isn't terrible.

You're going through scary stuff. As I noted in an earlier post, I'm just a short step ahead of you. Now we've got to get you the same outcome: benign! What we've gone through should just be an inconvenience in our lives.

Wishing you the best.

Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

I had a core needle biopsy and it showed that I had bc. I then had a lumpectomy with radiation treatments. It is just my opinion, but, it sounds like you want the abnormal cells out to give you peace of mind.

Hugs, Angie

Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

You're right. Even though it is scary and I reallllllly dont want to do this I know I would worry about them being in there and turning into something. Just praying for a good outcome.

Tux's picture
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2009

I had a lumpectomy in July 2009. It went quickly, with little
pain afterward. I was up the next day around the house & by the
end of the week back to normal activity (at a reduced pace).
The only scar is from the incision --barely noticeable. I do
have a size difference, but hardly detectable. I had rads
afterward, too, so that might account for some of the difference.

I wish you the best--so glad that you found these "wonky" cells
early. Keep us posted.

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

I know it's scary and we all understand that. But as you said, you would worry, as we all would. I am praying for a good outcome for you too! Thinking positive!

Hugs, Lex

Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2012

I just had a lumpectomy 4 weeks ago. I was down for a few days .I could putter around the house. A week and a half later I was back working painting houses.But everyone is different. My lumpectomy has filled with fluid and looks different but great. I had margins cleaned since my tumor (which was the size of a lime) was gone due to chemo :)I had large margins cleaned and the fluid has filled it almost to what it was before. Im here if you need me :)

Posts: 250
Joined: Nov 2011

My lumpectomy one year ago went well ... get some button up shirts to wear the week or two after as you may be sore when lifting arms up .... I was back to work after a week ... take the pain pills for sure the first few days ... hoping you have great results from the biopsy ....Sue D

hope4thebest's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

I read your post and wanted to assure you that it is not too bad. I had a wire-guided lumpectomy and it was soft tissue, so yes, painful but it could be worse. After you heal up, when you can wear a good bra, most people will not notice. Ultimately, it depends on what your dr says, as only they know how many abnormal cells they will remove.
Take it easy for the first 5-7 days. Just ask and you will get incredible support here.
Wishing you the best, the strength come from within,

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