Ultrasound: The Only Way to Tell a Tumor from a Cyst

by Maggan

in Diagnosis,Mammogram,Ultrasound


Remarkably, I am not in a funk when I show up at the Breast Care Center for the second time in less than two weeks for a diagnostic mammogram.

I delude myself. I want to believe the woman who said “It’s nothing to worry about. Just routine clarification. We need to make sure.”

But I deep down, I know. I’ve been called back because of the hard lump, my worry bead. Ninety percent of all lumps are supposed to be benign. Yet my lump feels strangely different.

Different from what? How do cysts feel? Are they also hard? Uneven? Ominous?

With my breast squeezed between the plates again,  I hold my breath. I amuse myself with the image of a funny card I once received.  A cartoon-man’s penis is squeezed between two mammogram plates. A martinet of a nurse says, “Just hold your breath and relax now, dear.”

The diagnostic mammogram does not provide the clarity they want. For absolute clarity they need to do an ultrasound. This delay allows me to experience a few more moments in la-la land.

If they can’t determine with certainty what’s on a diagnostic mammogram, how serious can it be?

The truth is this: They know exactly what is on the diagnostic mammogram, but they need proof. I need to have an ultrasound.

Whatever they see on the diagnostic mammogram, it does not disappear on the ultrasound. It is still there. I could have told them that.

We schedule a needle-core biopsy for the next day.

“Probably nothing, ” the nurse says.

I note the unusual speed with which they schedule a time slot for the biopsy.

I begin to worry. Everything is getting surreal.

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