I Found a Lump and am Worried I Have Breast Cancer...

If you notice a new lump or concerning breast change, you should contact your doctor or provider. Your provider knows your complete health history and can place imaging orders for you as needed.

If you find a lump:  

  1. Take a deep breath. Don’t panic. Know that most lumps are benign - normal fibrous or fatty tissue
  2. Remember that even if it is cancer, breast cancer is treatable, the treatments are better and the cure rates higher than ever before
  3. Call your physician to alert them. You can also directly call the Betty Ford Breast Care Services site near you. When you get to the center, you should expect to have a mammogram and possibly an ultrasound. 

Your mammogram (and ultrasound if performed) will be read by the radiologist who specializes in breast imaging. The results will fall into one of three categories:
  1. Normal (a benign finding) – this means nothing looks suspicious or cancerous and you would then need a repeat mammogram in one year
  2. Things look good – but the radiologist wants to double check things for you in six months with a repeat mammogram to make sure things stay that way for you
  3. Something is found that has is somewhat worrisome. In this case you will usually need a biopsy

If a biopsy is needed, keep in mind that 80 percent of biopsies turn out to be benign (not cancer).

  1. There are two types of biopsies; a core needle biopsy and a surgical biopsy.  Each of them will remove tissue so that it can be studied under the microscope.
  2. Most women are able to have a core needle biopsy. These are done right at a Betty Ford Breast Services location, often the same day you are there, by a radiologist who is specially trained in this procedure. 
  3. If a surgical biopsy is required, the rationale will be discussed with you and you will be referred to a breast surgery specialist.  

There will be three possible outcomes from your breast biopsy:
  1. Benign – no cancer is found. 
  2. Indeterminate – which means a diagnosis cannot be made without having more tissue to evaluate – a surgical biopsy may be needed 
  3. Positive for cancer
If breast cancer is found know that a team of health care professionals at Spectrum Health Cancer Center will come together to support you and help to ensure that you get the very best care. Our Breast Cancer Multispecialty Team (MST) meets twice a week. At this visit, you meet with a team of specialists in breast care – surgeons, medical oncologist and the radiation oncologists who focus on your type of cancer - all on one day at one appointment time.  You will also be able to meet with a genetic counselor, a medical social worker and with the nurse navigator. You will leave the MST with a comprehensive treatment plan in your hand and knowing what the next steps are for your care.  You will also know if there are clinical trial options available to you.