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Breast self-exams

abrub's picture
Posts: 1862
Joined: Mar 2010

Will there be a point where I will be able to make sense of breast self-exams?  At this point, with all the mucking about the surgeon did in there over the past few months, I have these residual rock-hard lumps.  Doing a BSE is pointless, because I know I have to ignore the major lumps I'll find.

Do the hard spots from a lumpectomy ever go away?  Or am I now resigned to monitoring myself with my annual scans?

Thank you,


Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2012

I have been massaging my lumpectomy surgery site with coco butter and it has softened it up considerably. My doctor said it was fine to do. Perhaps that might help you.

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I had a mastectomy, not a lumpectomy.  I also had a local recurrence.  It was very clear to me that the little lump near the mastecomy scar felt different than the other lumps and irregularities caused by scar tissue.  Based on that, I think you should continue your monthly self exams.  Get to know your altered breast as well as you knew it before your lumpectomy.



abrub's picture
Posts: 1862
Joined: Mar 2010

I will try massaging my breast more with an emollient, and hope to help work out the lumps. 

As for getting to know my breasts - the lumps removed weren't palpable any way; they were found on mammo and u/s.  I tend to be lumpy, and with these huge rocks in my breast, BSE becomes even more difficult.  However, I do my best.



Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

Have you looked into a PT helping with the lumps?  I know it might sound odd, but, my rads oncologist said he would send me to one if I ever felt the need to get some of my scar tissue loosened up. But, I really don't have that much.  I still do self breast exams even though it seems every doctor I go too checks also.



LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

I had lumpectomy last year (February) and every since, my breast has been changing. I still do self examinations, although I can't tell what each section of my breast is supposed to feel like anymore. I feel for round lumps, mostly or any skin changes. Checking them has become a therapy for me, for peace of mind, even if I don't know what I'm feeling.  I do admit my breast has become softer in the last few months. I feel the empty space where the incision was make. But some parts are still inconsistent. Since I got radiation, this is supposed to take a while but with time, it should feel soft again. I used to massage my breast everyday. And I think this helped tons!

If you decide to keep checking, I hope you don't get too anxious about what you feel. Most of the times, I've been told, it's scar tissue. If you have any doubt, always check with your Onco.

Best of luck.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2805
Joined: Jun 2010

in both breasts!   I remember that prior to bc I stopped doing self exams because I always found lumps.  However, my tumor was not palpable to either me or my physician, so what the heck?  My surgeon told me that I should treat my breasts like grandchildren, if I saw them often I wouldn't notice they'd grown and changed, if I saw them seldom, I'd immediately see the difference.  I still prod and poke far too much - primarily because my "bad boob" is still sore and tender 2 years after radiation and my "good boob" has an area that feels like a rocky road that I just can't seem to leave alone.  I try not to act like I'm looking for trouble, but I think once we've had the diagnosis, we're always on the lookout.   I so understand your dilemma.


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