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Thread: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

  1. #1

    Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and would really appreciate some advice...

    Before Christmas I felt like I noticed some swelling under my right armpit, which was also accompanied by pain and pain in my nipple. I'm a sufferer of health anxiety so stupidly turned to Dr. Google and have convinced myself I have breast cancer that's spread to the lymph nodes in my armpit.

    I decided to book an appointment with my GP at the beginning of January who thoroughly checked my armpits and breasts and she said it was no more than excess dense dissue and that our bodies aren't completely symmetrical. However, since this appointment I feel the swelling has gotten worse, as has the breast pain. I tried to see if the pain was connected to my period but unfortunately it hasn't subsided.

    I've decided I'm going to recontact my GP but I'm worried she'll be dismissive. I was wondering if anyone had tips for getting your GP to listen to you?

    I'm aware that at 24 years old my chances of having breast cancer are slim but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

    thanks,

    Danni x

  2. #2
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Nothing is impossible, but having BC at your age is not very likely.

    What will it take to convince you there's nothing wrong?

    All your GP can realistically do (I'd imagine) is to refer you to the breast clinic to reassure you, but the HA mind goes to town with referrals because it adds 'weight' to the imagined cancer - even when it's a case of the doctor trying to set someone's mind at rest.

    Obvious question to ask, but do you know somebody who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer?
    __________________
    I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another. ~ John Lennon

  3. #3

    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Thanks for your reply!

    I think it's because I'm terrified of being misdiagnosed. I've read all sorts of articles online about women who were told it was nothing but it turned out to be breast cancer.

    I believe being referred for some tests would help but I feel like that's going to be impossible to achieve. At least if it's bad news I'll have a diagnosis and can work towards getting treatment.

    My nan had a breast cancer scare when I was much younger (thankfully turned out to be nothing), other than that I've been very fortunate to not know anyone diagnosed with breast cancer.

  4. #4
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Quote Originally Posted by DanniDaniDanni View Post
    Thanks for your reply!

    I think it's because I'm terrified of being misdiagnosed. I've read all sorts of articles online about women who were told it was nothing but it turned out to be breast cancer.
    Lots of women are also told they have cancer and they don't have it.

    I'd stop reading things online lovely - it's not going to help you with HA.

    I really don't think you have anything to worry about, but in the name of balance, I have known lots of women who've had breast cancer 'scares' and only one one person who has actually had it. That was 20 years ago and she's still here!
    __________________
    I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another. ~ John Lennon

  5. #5
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Breast cancer 'scares' (a phrase I don't like actually) are nothing more than something that gets checked out and isn't bc, but something benign and very common. The 'scare' comes from the person being scared, and unless its diagnosed as BC then it isn't. Over 80 percent of referrals to the breast clinic are for benign breast conditions ! Basically, your Nan didn't have breast cancer, its that simple.

    Yes, at 24 it is very very uncommon and unlikely, but you are right it does happen. Us saying to you that its uncommon, will still leave you thinking you could be the rare person who has it at a young age. I can see where you are coming from and are frightened of mis-diagnosis, especially as you feel that you have 'symptoms', which may or may not be actual symptoms of something worrying. It is worth bearing in mind that 'symptoms' can be magnified by checking, pulling, pushing, ill fitting bras, posture, pressure from sleeping on one side, the mindset of the 'sufferer' (you say you are convinced, that can be enough to 'see' and 'feel' things which are very minor and grow them out of all proportion) and - hormonal breast changes that occur during the whole of your natural life. I had a benign hormonal change that lasted a year and resulted in a dense hard area of tissue, at exactly your age.

    You can of course request that another GP gives you a manual examination, a second opinion, and have a chance to talk about what you percieve to be the problems. Referral is somewhat harder, as if two GPs then don't wish to refer, or see the need, then you would have to (and can easily) book and pay for a private consultation including an ultrasound. If however two GPs say that there is nothing to be concerned about, then you should do your level best to accept that without further tests. I will say this to you - if you had cancer that had spread to your lymph nodes, then there would be obvious breast changes that would necessitate immediate referral. It would make you a stage 2, and possibly higher stage , bc patient, and the GP could NOT miss this.
    Last edited by Carys; 22-01-21 at 12:45.

  6. #6
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Also, to add, I don't think your GP is being 'dismissive'. I think she's telling you what she believes is a fact.

  7. #7

    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Thanks for your reply. That's a really interesting take on it, referring to it as a "scare" is only bound to make people worry even more!

    I'll admit I've pretty much been checking my armpit and breast everyday since Christmas, which I know makes it difficult to actually notice any changes. Plus I've also read that pulling/poking can actually help distribute the cancer around the body (not sure how true this actually is but HA will of course make me think it's concrete). My boyfriend is convinced what I believe is "swelling" has always been there, it's just something I've fixated on because I was having breast and nipple pain. I've always had one breast noticeably bigger than the other, so could potentially be that I just have more tissue on that side.

    I'm definitely going to go back to my GP as she told me to come back if I felt like anything has changed. Unfortunately I couldn't get in today as they're completely booked up, so will have to wait until Monday (annoying as that means another weekend of constant worrying). Even if I don't have breast cancer, the constant worrying about it is affecting my health in other ways (not sleeping, panic attacks, uncontrollable sobbing). The only way I'll be given peace of mind is if I am tested, so will look into private testing if she still doesn't believe there's reason to refer me - only hope is I can actually afford it!

    Your info about lymph nodes is very reassuring, thank you.

  8. #8
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Even if I don't have breast cancer
    I'd put a lot of money on it being nothing at all

    Be very careful going down the route of
    The only way I'll be given peace of mind is if I am tested
    as quite often it doesn't end there. Common in HA is refusal to believe doctors, and continue to follow the path of belief in your 'symptoms'. It can become obsessive. There is nothing to say that even after a full mammogram, ultrasound and check from a breast surgeon that you will believe that too.

    My boyfriend is convinced what I believe is "swelling" has always been there, it's just something I've fixated on because I was having breast and nipple pain.
    I'm with your boyfriend.

  9. #9
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    I have this and like you first noticed it in my early 20ís.

    I had it checked and GP said the same, itís extra tissue.

    Iíve since had it checked several times and been told the same. I also get pain on that side and sometimes that breast feels swollen.

    Iím 47 now and going through the menopause and honestly some days that breast is really sore. In fact I had another examination a few weeks ago and she said everything felt very healthy.

    Funnily enough when I was younger I used to worry about it but I donít now. Iíve moved onto other illnesses 😫

    The point is itís obviously very common and mines been like that for nearly 25 years.

    If you are really worried go back to your go and explain, she might refer you. Not all breast pain is cyclical, I havenít had a period for nearly a year but still get pain, more so on that side.

    Take care

  10. #10
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    Re: Convinced I have breast cancer, GP won't listen!

    Hi

    This is just a courtesy reply to let you know that your thread was merged with another of your threads.

    Please when posting on similar topics add it onto your previous post rather than starting a new one.


    It is nothing personal it is just to make it easier for people to follow your story and to give you advice as a whole.
    __________________
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