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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Is a small lump in the breast a symptom of cancer?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Indranil Ghosh

Oncologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1500 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 15 Sep 2016 in Cancer
Question: Hello! I just couldn't wait for my doctor to get back to me and wanted to get another opinion or information because my mind is racing. I was found to have a small lump in my breast during a mammogram and was told that it was an IDC breast cancer. The doctors all told me that it was small in diameter and seemed as though we caught it early. They have not yet done the lump removal procedure, since that is scheduled for next week but they did a CT scan of my lungs while waiting because I told them about a cough. They found 1 tiny nodule on the CT scan. Does this mean that the IDC breast cancer has already spread to the lungs and it's actually a stage 4? If it's stage 4, then how long will I have to live? Do I now need to get other scans done to check other places?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 59 minutes later
Brief Answer:
very unlikely to have spread

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Thanks for your query.

Even if I assume that small lump in breast is cancer, it is very much unlikely to spread to lungs. Tiny nodules on lung CTs are mostly non-specific and do not indicate cancer.

So I don't think it is stage 4. Even if it is (extremely unlikely), still many years of quality life is possible. First of all, I think your doc needs to check with the radiologist and decide what to label the nodule, then further workup accordingly.

Hope this helps.
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Indranil Ghosh 6 hours later
1) They said it was a tiny nodule and that we would just check on it after a year. Isn't that too long? Or does it mean that it's so small that we shouldn't worry about that?

2) they said that my mammogram and saunogram show that the sentinel lymphnode looks like it's unlikely for the cancer to have spread to and that the lump for the IDC is about 1.2cm in diameter so the preliminary clinical diagnosis is stage 1a. But they said we won't know the full diagnosis until the pathology report after the lumpectomy. What are the chances that the cancer can have metastasized to the lungs and not show up on a mammogram or saunogram? And for the CT scan to only show one tiny nodule?

3) for people who get stage 1a cancer and have it removed, what % of them have it return? I have read stories of some women having a lumpectomy and removing the cancer and then it comes back later and has metastasized to stage 4 already even with regular checkups and mammograms.

doctor
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Yes one year follow up is OK

Detailed Answer:
1. One year follow up is fine. It is too tiny so not to worry about it much.

2. Spread to lungs is not visible on mammogram or sonogram. It is seen on CT scan thorax. But this is done only in locally advanced tumors. In stage 1a, probability of lung spread is so low that CT scans are not done. In you it was done for the cough but one tiny nodule can't explain cough. So it is insignificant.

3.Recurrence probability is less than 5% if the final staging is 1a.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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