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Permanent lump under arm. Advised to do mammogram. Is there a possibility of cancer?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Hi, I have had a lump under my arm for about 30 years, it seems to get bigger & smaller at various times.
I have been called for a routine mammogram and I am petrified it is cancer.

Also it does get a bit red at times.
Logically my brain tells me it is unlikely to be cancer after all these years but I just cannot get it out of my mind, I spend hours on google.
Posted Tue, 26 Jun 2012 in Breast Cancer
 
 
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 28 minutes later
Hi,
Thanks for writing in.
I do understand your concern.
Logically speaking, you're right. The possibility of this lump being cancer is remote and I would say , its almost nil. Since it has been increasing and decreasing in size on its own, I would presume its something like a sebaceous cyst. This is a condition which arises when the ducts of one of the oil glands becomes blocked and the secretions start accumulating. These can get infected at time, when they become red and hurt. I do not think you need to get worried about this.
As far as the mammogram is concerned, it is done routinely every year in women your age as a preventive screening for breast cancer. It is done for all women your age and I dont think this lump is the reason why you have been called in for a mammogram.
I hope I have addressed your concerns. I would be happy to address any more concerns that you might have.
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Permanent lump under arm. Advised to do mammogram. Is there a possibility of cancer? 2 hours later
Thank you for your reply.
When I have the mammogram will they be able to see it is a cyst and not cancer?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 2 hours later
Hi,
Thanks for writing back.
The mammogram would help us detect cancer in which we would be able to see irregular patterns of calcification. Unless a cyst is calcified, it will not be picked up by a mammogram. The cyst can be comfortably picked up by a clinical examination followed by an ultrasound or an FNAC ( fine needle aspiration cytology).
Having said that, I would still recommend you to have a mammogram done for preventive screening purposes only.
Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of any more help.
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Permanent lump under arm. Advised to do mammogram. Is there a possibility of cancer? 27 minutes later
Thank you for your help
 
 
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 6 hours later
Hi,
You are most welcome.
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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