What do I do if I find a lump in my breast?

Finding a lump in your breast is usually alarming. What you need to know is that the majority of breast lumps are benign. There are many causes associated with lumps or masses in the breast ranging from simple fluid filled cysts to other forms of non-cancerous breast disease.

What do I do if I have an abnormal mammogram?

Learning that you have an abnormal mammogram can be very stressful. Most abnormal mammograms prove NOT to be cancer. About 50 percent of breast cancers are found on physical examination—either by the patient herself or during a clinical breast exam by her physician.

Can a breast biopsy spread cancer cells?

No studies have shown that taking a sample of a breast tumor causes the breast cancer to spread. In fact, our standard way of evaluating for abnormalities and sampling them so that we can know if an area is cancerous before operating on it has been wildly successful, causing breast cancer deaths to fall 25% in the last 15 years.

Dr Heather Richardson

What do I do if I have a positive biopsy?

If you have a positive result from your biopsy you will need to know some specific details about the findings so you can understand your treatment options. Firstly, ask your doctor if any further biopsy is needed or if the results are conclusive.

Is it harmful to have a clip placed in my breast after my biopsy?

What if I refuse to have the clip? It is always your right to refuse any procedure or any portion of a procedure that you think is unsafe or not right for you. However, if it is recommended by your doctor, you owe it to yourself to find out the reasoning behind the recommendation. You should definitely ask questions and make sure that you have a clear understanding of what your concerns are. Whether or not clip placement at the time of a biopsy is necessary is a very common question. If the area that is being sampled is very subtle or hard to see, or if the sample may remove all or nearly all of the area and it may be difficult to find in the future, then clip placement is preferred in case the area is proven to be dangerous. Clip markers are commonly made of different types of inert substances that do not typically cause any local tissue reaction, nor do they set off any monitors at airports or affect any future medical testing. They are considered safe, and are very commonly used.

What do I do if I test positive for BRCA gene?

Testing positive for mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene does not indicate that you have cancer or guarantee that you will develop cancer in the future. What it does mean is that you have an increased risk of developing breast, ovarian and other cancers in the future.

What do I do if I have severe breast pain?

Breast pain is very common in women, especially those with dense or cystic breasts. Breast pain is rarely a sign of cancer.

Can a cyst turn into cancer?

Everyone has heard a story of someone who was told they had a breast cyst and was very relived… And then later on hears they have a breast cancer diagnosis. One important question is how much time passed in between the cyst and the cancer? And what method was used to be sure it was a cyst in the first place? A cyst is a collection of fluid that arises in the tissue that typically produces milk. Fluid shifts come and go, so the size, number and placement of cysts can vary significantly over time. Cysts don’t turn into cancer. But there are a few reasons patients might think this has happened- 1) an area is thought to be a cyst, but actually isn’t 2) a cyst has come and gone in a breast, and in the nearby area a cancer forms later after the cyst is gone.

Can a fibroadenoma turn into cancer?

A fibroadenoma is to breast tissue what a flesh colored mole is to skin. It is healthy breast elements that have grown into a disorganized lump. It wasn’t there at birth, it slowly grew over time, and eventually it gets to a certain size and stops growing, all the while not causing any harm to the surrounding tissue. It doesn’t need to be there, but it’s not dangerous. In the same sense that a flesh colored mole doesn’t “turn into” skin cancer, fibroadenomas don’t turn into breast cancers. But, just like skin moles, if something “isn’t right” about the way they grow or the way they look, they are removed to make sure abnormal cells aren’t present within them. In very rare cases, fibroadenomas can begin to grow abnormally and are called “phyllodes tumors”. These aren’t like common breast cancers and usually are treated with removal alone.

If I lose weight, will my breast tissue become less dense?

Density is a factor of how much milk producing tissue is present, which is typically more tough than fatty tissue. If you lose weight, then the ratio of milk producing tissue to fatty tissue usually increases, so losing weight may technically increase your breast density. Not to worry! We have many ways to make sure dense breasts are safe and can tailor an approach to your specificities.

Dr Heather Richardson

For more Information or to schedule an appointment contact Dr Heather Richardson at the Bedford Breast Center Servicing Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the greater Los Angeles area