My recent breast lump

This is the third lump I’ve ever found and the second biopsy I’ve had. My first one at 23 years old was a fibroadenoma (a benign lump). The second one was presumably hormone related, (or even COVID related, who knows! I found it the day I got COVID in March 2020). That one was sore to touch but went away after a week. Last year I found one in my left breast (I always find them in my bigger side) – nearly two years to the day since my last one. I made an appointment with my obgyn over here in Berlin. They did an ultrasound of both breasts and was able to get a measurement of the lump. They were 98% sure that it was just a fibroadenoma, but we both agreed that getting a biopsy was best because it measured over 2cms and I was of a certain age.

My experience from 2010 wasn’t a particularly nice one, so I wasn’t looking forward to this biopsy. However, I was then pleasantly surprised at how easy it all was. I don’t know if it’s a German thing or if it’s a hospital & equipment thing, or if these procedures have just moved on a fair bit since 2010 but the whole process was pretty painless! I had an “Ultrasound-guided punch biopsy” (Ultraschallgesteuerte Stanzbiopsie). They take a tissue sample from the breast using a hollow needle. At the breast centre they did another ultrasound on both breasts before performing the biopsy. It only took a couple of minutes – which included the local anaesthetic. The sting from the anaesthetic was just like any other I’d had. The “punch” part of the “punch biopsy” is because of the noise it makes, I’m guessing. (This will sound so odd but stay with me. Think of a 4-colour BIC pen- when you change colour the spring makes a click sound. It was like that! But louder.)

Everything was explained to me beforehand, even the sort of noise that the needle would make. They took three samples and then patched me up with a little bandage, and it’s left no scar that I can see. After a few days they rang me to say that everything was fine and nothing bad was found.

I wanted to share this story because maybe check-ups and biopsies would be less scary if they were normalised. I know the thought of getting one done can be daunting – the word “biopsy” has some pretty shitty connotations! But the people doing this job want you to feel safe and they all want the best outcome for you.