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"I have a breast lump and swollen nodes since June; should I get a 2nd opinion or watch and wait??"

ZocdocAnswersI have a breast lump and swollen nodes since June; should I get a 2nd opinion or watch and wait??


Since June 2013 I've had a lump in my breast; drs say its a cyst though it doesn't move and hasn't changed in size during my cycles. Started having pain in my left thigh and then felt a large node swollen which the dr sent me for a US for. The largest one came back at 1.6 cm and tech said I had a chain of minorly swollen ones though they looked normal. My primary care thinks I just have anxiety though the nodes are still swollen and now I have swelling behind left ear as well. I've also been losing weight unintentionally, and having minor "day sweats" and have developed several spider nevi on my chest. Should I get a 2nd opinion or watch and wait? And if I do get a 2nd opinion do I see another primary?


Thank you for your question. Breast lumps are not uncommon though their causes can be quite variable depending on your age, past medical history, family history, and exposures to various environmental agents. I suggest that you speak with your physician about the specifics of your medical record so that he or she may more accurately diagnose you. As you noted, cysts are a common cause of breast lumps. Sometimes, breast cysts can change in size with your menstrual period or they may remain the same size. Other potential causes of breast lumps are adenomas (benign tumors), breast abscess (an infection of the breast), or breast cancer (ductal or lobular carcinoma). Mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRI can help differentiate between these causes, and a tissue diagnosis through biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. Depending on your particular case, either or all of these steps may be indicated. Swollen lymph nodes may be reactive and secondary to inflammation, infection, or may be a sign of a more insidious process such as cancer. It is not possible to receive a diagnosis without being evaluated by a physician. If you are concerned and are unsure of your primary care doctor's diagnosis, you should consider a second opinion by either another primary care physician or breast surgeon, who is a specialist in breast lumps.

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