As women we are constantly told to check our breasts… admittedly I try to when I can but normally it is at the bottom of my to-do list, plus I always wondered… at 22 do I REALLY need to check? I guess after recent events it’s safe to say, yes. Back in May, I started noticing some discomfort in my left breast but I dismissed it… after all one of the many perks of being a woman is that our breasts just hurt sometimes due to hormonal changes.
A few weeks went by and following the discomfort I began noticing some discharge from my left nipple, it was blood-stained but for some reason I ignored it, completely dismissed it. I had a little feel and lo and behold there was a lump, so after sticking my head in the sand for a little bit I went to see my GP who examined it. They advised me they were not too happy with it so referred me to the breast screening team as a 2 week urgent referral.
2 weeks of stress passed and I met the specialist, she had a feel, discussed my symptoms and my family history and said she thinks there may be something called a “papilloma” and wanted to arrange an ultrasound but reassured me it was nothing to worry about…after all I am only 22.
My ultrasound came and was admittedly the worst point of this whole situation. The sonographer was rude and blunt. She looked at me while laying there, (rather exposed) and said “right well where is this supposed lump?” She then proceeded to blame my nipple piercing… wrong… so wrong.
I then saw a consultant who spoke to me about the situation, and it was a bit like de ja vu. She advised me she she too felt there were maybe 2 or 3 papillomas causing the lumps and discharge. She discussed something called a “Hadfields procedure” and wanted to refer me to the breast surgeon.
I went away and did my reasearch.
“An intraductal papilloma is a wart-like lump that develops in one or more of the milk ducts in the breast. It’s usually close to the nipple, but can sometimes be found elsewhere in the breast. Intraductal papilloma is a benign (not cancer) breast condition. Some people who have multiple intraductal papillomas may also have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer. “https://breastcancernow.org/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/benign-breast-conditions/intraductal-papilloma
A Hadfields procedure is an operation carried out to disconnect and remove the major nipple ducts and some breast tissue. This will take approximately 20 minutes and is usually undertaken under a general anaesthetic (you are asleep). – https://www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk/patient-information-leaflets/Breast%20unit%20Hadfields%20procedure.htm
The day came where I met with the surgeon, 11/12/2019 and she agreed as a risk reducing procedure it was beneficial to do the Hadfields procedure, taking into account that there is a family history of breast cancer. Of all things to ask, I asked the surgeon: “Will there be a visible difference? Will people notice part of my left breast is gone?” She smiled sweetly and advised; “providing you wear padded bras then no, but if you were topless or intimate with someone it would be obvious, yes.” So I nodded, signed all the forms and left. It didn’t really hit me straight away, and I still don’t think the full extent of it has hit me.
24 hours on and I’ve been crying in random bouts. I have an untold amount of questions but obviously this is the best outcome, as it stands at present. Two lumps are benign and by having them removed it is reducing a huge risk of them ever changing which papillomas have a tendency to do. If there is one thing I have taken from all of this, it is the importance of checking your breasts, and reporting any changes to your GP.
I’m sure I’ll write the outcome of the surgery once I have had it, but for now it’s time to accept what is going to happen.
Have you been through anything similar? I would love if you could share your experiences with me