Scared breast cancer is back



I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2017.I have had mastectomy,chemotherapy,radiotherapy and taking Tamoxifen since 04/2018.My last mammogram was done in July 2019 and everything was normal until last week when I checked my other breast and felt some changes. I feel some tiny lumps just in lower breast .I'm so scared cancer is back.I would appreciate any response to my post.


    Hi Ladybird,

    Have you phoned your breast care nurse about your concerns? They are usually very helpful in cases like this.

    I had the bad luck to find a lesion in my other breast just a few months after I had my first surgery - a lumpectomy followed by Tamoxifen. The new lump was bigger than the original one, it turned out to be benign.

    Exactly a year after my lumpectomy, I found another lump in my original breast. This time I wasn't so lucky and I had a double mastectomy followed by Letrozole for 6 years. I stopped taking Letrozole in July 2017 and, it is now 10 years since I was first diagnosed.

    It is a scary thought when you believe that the cancer is back, but this possibility is something that everyone with a cancer diagnosis has to learn to live with.

    I found the bilateral mastectomy easier to recover from than the lumpectomy and it also healed more quickly. Many ladies just have lumpy breasts, but no cancer. I hope that this may be the case with you when you describe your lumps as tiny.

    Please phone your nurse tomorrow and, discuss your findings. My nurse brought me in to see my surgeon the following morning. As you know, the sooner you catch cancer and start treating it, the better the outcome usually is, so stop wasting time worrying and start getting it investigated.

    Please stay in touch and let us know how you get on. We are always here for you.

    Kind regards,

    Jolamine xx

  • Thank you very much Jolamine:) ! I rang my breast nurse few days ago and I will be seeing my surgeon in 9 days.I was told to come earlier as they might do ultrasound.I have additional (regular appointment)check up visit in breast clinic in 3 days so I'm hoping to get any news good or bad. I'm prepared mentally and ready to fight again if I have to.My orginal cancer was in left breast and it was thick mass,they also found another lump in my armpit,which I failed to detect it.I was waiting few months to make an appointment because I was so scared and couldn't believe it will happen to me,I was only 34 then.New lump in my right breast is so different,sometimes I think I feel more than one lump..crazy I know.I forgot to mention that I have had Ct thorax done 2 months ago and didn't show any changes,but I'm not sure if breast cancer can appear on Ct scan.I will try to call my breast nurse again today,I'm forgetting sometimes to ask important questions .

    Thank you again for you kind response,you are a true hero!Sending you many hugs!



    HI Ladybird,

    I'm glad to hear that you have an appointment to see your surgeon in 9 days and, that you have a routine review in only 3 days. You should mention your concerns about the other breast when you are there for your review. With any luck, they might carry out a few tests and have your results back in time for your visit to your consultat.

    It is always a good idea to draw up a list of questions as they come to you. I do this before any appointment and it saves me from forgetting to ask important questions. Can you bring someone with you to your consultantation? It is particularly important to do this when you are expecting to get any test results back.

    If your other breast is feeling so different from the original one, I sincerely hope that this proves to be benign.

    Kind regards,

    Jolamine xx

  • Dear Jolamine,

    After mastectomy I didn't get breast reconstitution so my left side if flat :( .I didn't detect any changes in the breast wall and recently (few days ago)i went for radiology appointment and my doctor checked only treated side,she wasn't interested in my recent breast pain :(  I spend last few days examining my breast over and over again ,at this point I'm sore and can't say if I feel one or two lumps and can't describe the shapes either. I always go to my appointments with my husband,sometimes with my 12 years old daughter as well. I know they will be there for me no matter what and I will fight whatever comes to my way.

    I really appreciate your messages and your kindness. 

    Wish you all the best in 2020 :-)


    Dear Ladybird,

    If you didn't have any reconstruction after surgery you can at least rule out ALCL. I didn't either and, am glad when I hear all the hype about ALCL.

    When you are back at the hospital, make sure that you tell them how worried you are about your other breast. Try not to keep feeling it, as this will only make your breast sore. I am glad to hear that your hubby always accompanies you to your appointments, as does your daughter occasionally. It makes all the difference to have the love and support of family at times like this.

    I found that the best way to feel my lumps was to soap myself really well in the shower and, to feel the lumps when I was wet and soapy - much gentler than just feeling dry skin and more reliable when you are trying to locate the lumps.

    Thank you for your good wishes for 2020. Here's hoping for Health and Happiness for both of us in the forthcoming year.

    Kind regards,

    Jolamine xx

  • Jolamine,


    I hope you don't mind me jumping on this post but you seem to be extremely knowledgeable. 

    I have had a mastectomy on Saturday and I'm waiting for my meeting on Thursday to find out next steps. 

    they mentioned tamoxifen would be the possible outcome going forward. 

    if the cancer has all gone as they have taken the breast away. It hasn't spread to the lymph nodes why would tamoxifen be needed? I know you aren't a consultant and I will ask them but just want all my facts before I meet with her again. Would it be to stop it coming in the other breast? 


    liz x 


    Hi Liz,

    I am glad to hear that you had your mastectomy last week and, I hope that you are healing well.

    At the moment, you should be cancer free having had your surgery, but it can occasionally return. I had a lumpectomy first time around 10 years ago. I followed this by Tamoxifen, but found another lump in the same breast a year later. At this stage I had a bilateral mastectomy and changed to Letrozole. I took this for 6 years and stpped taking it in July 2017.

    Tamoxifen blocks the affect of Oestrogen on cancer cells, so reduces the growth of cancer. Sadly, it didn't work for me, but, so far the Letrozole seems to be doing the job.

    Are you taking someone with you to your appointment on Thursday? It is always a good idea to do this, particularly when you are going for test results. Another useful thing to do is to write down a list of questions for your consultant, before each appointment. Make sure that you understand everything that you are told and, don't hesitate to ask for further clarification if needed.

    I hope that you get good news on Thursday. Please let us know the outcome. We are always here for you.

    Kind regards,

    Jolamine xx

  • Hi Jolamine,

    thank you for coming back to me. My breast care nurse is not very good so I don't have anyone to ask questions I have. 

    yes my husband is coming with me next Thursday. 

    you might not know the answer, I assume the cancer can't come back in the left boob due to the mastectomy, so by giving me tamoxifen are they trying to stop it developing in the other breast? 

    I asked for a double mastectomy and they said no, as the chances of having in the other breast in future are the same as someone without cancer history. Is that right? 

    thanks again

    Liz x x


    Hi Liz,

    It is unfortunate that your breast care nurse is not very helpful. Don't let this stop you from asking questions, as this is her job. She may become more helpful as she gets to know you better.

    Cancer can always come back or spread despite having had surgery. Fear of recerrence is something that everyone who has had a cancer diagnosis, has to live with. The fact that your lymph nodes were not involved is good news, as cancer spreads via the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is like the circulatory system and this is how cancer spreads to other organs.

    My mum had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy followed by Tamoxifen. Sadly, she developed secondary cancer after 12 years, when it spread to her brain, bones, liver and lungs. That was 21 years ago and treatment has improved dramatically since then. I have had 2 bouts of breast cancer. The first was 10 years ago, when I had a lumpectomy followed by Tamoxifen. I was told that I was cancer free but, I discovered a second lump in the same breast a year later and, had a double mastectomy followed by Letrozole for 6 years. I stopped taking this in July 2017.

    Many surgeons are reluctant to carry out a double mastectomy and often insist that their patients consult  a psychologist before they do the procedure. My surgeon was quite happy to carry out my procedure without referring me to see anybody. I think that this was possibly because I developed a lump in my other breast only 3 months after my lumpectomy. Fortunately, although the lump was bigger than the ones in my original breast, it turned out to be benign.

    Tamoxifen should reduce the chances of a recurrence or spread anywhere in the body. Although it didn't work for me, it does work for most people.

    Many people have been told that the chances of having it in the other breast in future, are the same as someone without cancer history, so I expect that this is true. I am glad to hear that your husband will be accompanying you to your appointment on Thursday. I hope that this goes well and, that you have nice clear margins post-surgery.

    Fingers crossed!

    Kind regards,

    Jolamine xx

  • Sorry for my slow reply. Have been so tired. 

    thank you for the info. It's lovely to have someone to ask that knows their stuff. 

    I will let you know how Thursday goes. I have a long list of questions.