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Why would I have an enlarged lymph node in my breast?

By Anonymous April 16, 2009 - 6:21am
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I am a 30 y.o. female with no family history of breast cancer. I found a lump in my right breast a short while ago. Over the next few weeks I had 2 sets of mammograms and an ultrasound done. I called my gyn daily to get the results of the tests, and when they finally came in the FNP returned my call. She stated that it was benign, and when I questioned her further she said it was an enlarged lymph node. Not being a pushy person, and I didn't really have any questions prepared for this scenario I let it go and hung up. Now I can't find any info online for why I would have an enlarged lymph node in my breast. From what I'm finding it must not be a common place, because I have yet to find anything.

So, my question is...Is this something that should be further tested? It is still the same size as when I found it about a month and a half ago. The only other symptom I am having is that occasionally my breast will ache slightly. It's usually only for a few seconds and it quits. It occurs maybe 1-2 times a day.

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EmpowHER Guest

I havent read any of the other comments, so i dont know if any one has answered with this same answer yet or not.

But i have had a lump in my breast for two and a half years now. I got an ultra sound done on it about two years ago. and it came back as nothing there. but i knew there was pain there, but i figured they were right so i just ignored it. Then over the past two years it had grown, but for about a year and a half it has stayed the same size. ( one inch I found out today)
It gives me pain from here to there, and painful to the touch, or any type of pressure right on to the area.
So about 3 weeks ago i decided to get more answers, because they obviously weren't right.

I went to my surgeon. he told me it felt like a cyst. but i knew he was wrong because cysts move. My lump is solid, not liquid, and does NOT MOVE. it is deff attached, i could tell this on my own i touch it everyday by habbit. So he sent me to get a ultra sound two days ago. She told me it was a lymphnode. Today i went back to the surgeon, and he said he was wrong and that the ultra sound shows it is NOT a cyst ..BIG SURPRISE..ive been saying this for a years now. BUT he told me there is no way it is a lymph node. Lymphnodes come and go..and usually means an infection,( sorta like the ones in your throat area during the winter) He said theres no way its a lymph node because it has been there for over 2 years and hast gone down in size.
So he has sugested that i get it taken out. I'm going to have them do a biopsy on it afterwards. So in my opinon, I WOULD not ignore it, and get more tests done, or even talk to a surgeon, because my ultra sound tech told me wrong, and if i hadnt of gone back to my surgeon today, i would be sitting here thinking it was perfectly normal, and i didnt need surgery...once again

Well, i hope this has helped. I wouldnt ignore it!!...I mean i'm only 20 and i have the same problem, it could be possible they are wrong, and it kinda sounds like they are, especially if it persists more then months!!!!! Because my surgeon just told me a lymp node doesnt last long in that area, and that it is usually un common for the breast to have a swollen lympnode anyways.

March 11, 2011 - 4:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

i'm 31 yrs old & i've been observing my lymph nodes at the lower part of my breast for 2 yrs already. it pains particularly when i have my menstruation. when i was pregnant last year i could feel its pain. Then when i gave birth, i have not experienced the pain anymore. But just lately, it occurs again especially when i have my menstruation. i can feel its size. is it normal? i'm afraid to consult a doctor.

March 1, 2011 - 2:17am

Hi, Thank you all for your comments. After discussing it with my GYN MD, I have decided to go get it done. Putting on my smarter cap now and putting the silly cap away. It is ture it's best to be safe than sorry, if something is wrong its best to know now early where things can be done. Not thinking negative i think my biggest fear is PAIN! I do not like it so i am searching the web for a video of the procedure. I have come accross video's in the past with clips. So thats where i am i will keep you updated. I go this wendesday for the procedure. Thanks again, Jaki

February 28, 2011 - 7:14am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for sharing your story. First and foremost, it is better to be safe than sorry later and I hear it often enough that doctors do not take their patients seriously and this is a great story to show that not only do doctors care but overall the necessary testing will reduce the fears of the person going through the pain.

Great to hear that you are well. Best of luck.

February 26, 2011 - 9:38am
EmpowHER Guest

I just arrived home from a whirlwind of appointments today. I found this site on my phone while I was waiting to have my ultrasound and I can tell you that reading the comments from so many other women in the same boat as I am in was REALLY REALLY comforting! I felt a lump in my left breast that was sore and I was really feeling it after I shoveled some snow. I called my doctors office yesterday, got an appointment today where he felt the lump but thought it was a swollen lymph node, he got me an immediate appointment at the breast center attached to the hospital where I had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound. All of this was within a three hour span of time. Thank GOD I was told to "take my boring breasts and go home" because the results were absolutely normal. I can't imagine the torture of waiting months like some of the women here; I was a mental wreck for the few hours I had to go through this. All I can say is if your doctor is not taking this seriously, find a new doctor! Even though mine said he was pretty sure it was just a lymph gland he said he wouldn't ever diagnose that without further testing.

February 25, 2011 - 3:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello, to all. This is my firat posting and really need input. I have had a sebeasous cyct on my breast for a while. It was the size of a green pea. Every so often i would squeeze it to remove some of the cheeze like material with a foul odor. About a month ago I for some reason it became infected and began to swell and become sore, i was not able to squeeze it due to the pain. I went to my GYN and he said it was infectedand gave me some antiobotics. I took them and the pain and swelling went down. I was due for my Mamo/sono of the breast. They told me the lymph nodes was enlarged and request me to come back in 1 month to repeat sono. I went back and they said the lymph nodes are still enlarged and want to do a biospy to see why they are enlarged. Is this really necessary now to take such a invasive step or is there something else that can be done? I do not feel the enlargement when i feel them. My breast shape or texture has not changed. I am not sick or anything. Any alternatives? I am just skeptical. Healthcare is not like it use to be, I question are they concern for my well being or making a profit. I just don't want to do something thats not necessary nor start something due to the invasion.

February 24, 2011 - 12:29pm
EmpowHER Guest

No I was not at all offended..this was my first mammogram so they have nothing to compare to? The lymph node is painful in my breast and somehow also makes my arm a little sore? I called my actual dr since the one I spoke to was the one at the hospital reading the results..they say they don't have results yet...the dr that read the report just saidb I don't see anything alarming...sigh..I wish he would have said we see nothing its normal..the tech said the shapes she sees are smooth and cancer is not and with cancer there would be no soundwaves and there would be shadowing and she doesn't see that ? Ugggg......

February 18, 2011 - 2:52am
(reply to Anonymous)

That's all good news! Did your doctor tell you when they expect to receive the test results (it can be faxed), and ask when you should call to discuss the results? You may have to be a little pushy...there does not seem to be a lot of helpful communication coming your way.

From my understanding, the techs do not interpret test results, and are actually trained to NOT say anything...as this is not their job (for this exact reason, that they provide enough "non-information" to scare the patient). You may want to call the doctor and/or lab, and let them know techs are interpreting what they see on the screen, and providing enough just vague information to concern patients. I hope you can either call and provide feedback (so the tech does not do this again; she may have really thought she was helping), or know that she IS telling you she didn't see anything alarming.

That is medical speak for: your tests look normal. Just confirm with your doctor, and let us know!

February 20, 2011 - 3:01pm
EmpowHER Guest

Allison, yes I know what a lymph node is however when I asked the tech what she saw she said she saw breast tissue and a lymph node..I said isnt that normal because I thought it was she didnt say anything? My breast has had sort of a dull throbbing and as mentioned earlier the node is bigger than when I got the exam on tues? I dont want to drive myself crazy by ordering a biopsy if I dont need it...I was just wondering if an ultrasound an mammogram were sufficient enough to rule out cancer?

February 17, 2011 - 11:42am
(reply to Anonymous)

If the tech did not reply to your question, I am not sure why she would mention these obvious things...I would not give this another thought, as she may have been inexperienced (and was maybe just stating the obvious).

We can focus on what your doctor said, as this holds much more weight. There are many different types of masses that can be seen on an MRI, ultrasound or mammogram; most are benign (not cancerous). Here is some information that explains this from the American Cancer Society:
"The doctor reading the films will look for several types of changes:
Calcifications are tiny mineral deposits within the breast tissue, which look like small white spots on the films. They may or may not be caused by cancer. There are 2 types of calcifications:
* Macrocalcifications are coarse (larger) calcium deposits that are most likely changes in the breasts caused by aging of the breast arteries, old injuries, or inflammation. These deposits are related to non-cancerous conditions and do not require a biopsy. Macrocalcifications are found in about half the women over 50, and in about 1 of 10 women under 50.
* Microcalcifications are tiny specks of calcium in the breast. They may appear alone or in clusters. Microcalcifications seen on a mammogram are of more concern, but still usually do not mean that cancer is present. The shape and layout of microcalcifications help the radiologist judge how likely it is that cancer is present. If the calcifications look suspicious for cancer, a biopsy will be done.

A mass, which may occur with or without calcifications, is another important change seen on mammograms. Masses can be many things, including cysts (non-cancerous, fluid-filled sacs) and non-cancerous solid tumors (such as fibroadenomas), but they could also be cancer. Masses that are not cysts usually need to be biopsied.
* A cyst and a tumor can feel alike on a physical exam. They can also look the same on a mammogram. To confirm that a mass is really a cyst, a breast ultrasound is often done. Another option is to remove (aspirate) the fluid from the cyst with a thin, hollow needle.
* If a mass is not a simple cyst (that is, if it is at least partly solid), then you may need to have more imaging tests. Some masses can be watched with periodic mammograms, while others may need a biopsy. The size, shape, and margins (edges) of the mass help the radiologist determine if cancer is present.

Having your previous mammograms available for the radiologist is very important. They can be helpful to show that a mass or calcification has not changed for many years. This would mean that it is probably a benign condition and a biopsy is not needed. "

I would hope that by getting a copy of your test results, and/or talking with your doctor about interpreting these results, it would be more clear what type of mass was seen.

Lastly, if you have noticed symptoms that have changed since you last saw your doctor...you need to call and make an appointment. Unless they hear from you, they will assume everything is better or the same. If your pain is throbbing and you are feeling a bigger mass, please call and let them know.

You can read more about breast cancer detection here: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-detection.

Here is a list of the different types of screening and diagnostic tests:

Bottom line: If your doctor's were concerned about a mass, they would talk with you about further diagnostic testing. You can let them know you need to hear the specific words "benign", as they may not know how worried you are.

Does this help? Sorry if I offended you by asking if you know what a lymph node is; it was difficult to understand your original question, but I understand you are confused by their lack of communication. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

February 17, 2011 - 12:25pm
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