First time lump: from a concerned husband's POV

Hi all

I'm not really sure if this is the place to be asking this, but I've tried looking and reading online to get info, but it all seems fairly general, a little all over the place, and mostly american-based, which I don't find all that helpful, given the difference in standards / practises between our two countries.

Anyway, a quick snapshot of the situation before I ask my question/s.

My wife is 30 years old, and from a very conservative culture. Basically, unlike many girls her age, you'll never see her wearing clothing that shows more skin than it covers! We're relatively recently married (2 years), both each other's first loves, etc, so neither of us have had any reason (need or want!) to expose certain parts of either of our bodies to anyone other than each other. *Note: this point will be relevent shortly.*

Pretty much until now.

About a week-and-a-half ago, I discovered a small, hard lump in my wife's breast. (Y'know, because I'm a good husband and all that! :P). With Christmas happening last week, we only got around to seeing a doctor the other day who has given her a referral to get an ultrasound next week.

That's great, but we don't really know what to expect from the whole thing. Again, online articles provide conflicting and varied answers, so I'm hoping I might find some answers in here.

I should state that I'm not jumping any guns and thinking / presuming what she has is cancer. Far from it, actually. I'm 99% sure it's nothing of any concern, but right now we just don't know.

What actually will happen at this appointment?

When they see the lump, will they know what it is, or will there be other x-rays, ect, to determine that?

I really want to be in there for everything with her, as if the roles were reversed, I'd really want my wife there with me. No-one other than her has seen my 'bits', so I'm putting myself in her shoes at the moment and I know my being there to hold her hand in support would make her feel a lot more at ease.

I know that she's really nervous about the idea of someone else seeing and, even moreso, FEELING her breasts, so I've taken the day off work to be there for her.

I spoke to the imaging place the other day and they said I MIGHT be allowed in to the ultrasound room with her, but there were no guarantees. I would like to think all places would allow someone to join the patient, as I'm sure it's not just a scary thing to just my wife and I!

Anyway, any personal accounts or recounting of similar situations would very much appreciated.

Thankyou in advance!


  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,123
    its great that you have found your way on here - a health scare like this is very confronting  my it’s really helpful to have a supportive partner .I took my husband to all my early medical appointments as suggested by my GP as another set of “ ears”.
    The standard tests are mammogram ( where they put your breast on a metal plate and squeeze another metal plate on it and take an image ), ultrasound ( where they put gel on the breast and run a sort of a wand over it while a moving image is taken then static images) , biopsy ( where they take a sample of tissue from inside the breast with a needle ( can be a big or small one) , MRI ( where you lay face down and go inside a machine which makes a big noise).All with the naked breasts exposed.
    There is also a physical exam.
    I am 64 ( 62 when diagnosed) but have always been very self conscious about exposing my bodily parts - I went to a girls school and didn’t have brothers so that probably compounded it ).
    I remember when I had my mastectomy and my male  breast cancer surgeon was marking me up with texta I actually closed my eyes and imagined I was somewhere else.
    Most of the nurses and technical staff who did my mammogram, ultrasound and MRI were female , my breast cancer surgeon ( who is amazing) and other Doctors ( like the anaesthetist) were male.
    They are professionals and our bodies are just something to treat medically for them , I know that doesn’t really help but like so much about breast cancer ( or the testing to investigate it) there are things that will make us anxious and upset.
    I think that it is worth explaining your wife’s issues to the staff involved and they may be able to accommodate your wishes.
    Good luck and fingers crossed it is benign and not cancer 🌺
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,279
    Hi @Hubby2021, it's really great to support your wife.

    I agree about talking to the staff to see if you can be with your wife for the ultrasound. It really should not be a problem technically. It is not painful or invasive.

    A mammogram is like an xray so you won't be able to attend for that.  As explained above the breast is between 2 plates for the mammogram and can be uncomfortable. 

    The scan will be reviewed by the doctor and then your wife will be given the results provable a few days later.

     If this is done private your wife may have a biopsy either the same time or later if they want to check at the lump.  The results of a biopsy can take a few days. Some lumps that women get can be cysts. I had a few cysts in my younger years. 

    Try not to google as it really doesn't help. It is best to just stay in the moment and take everything as it comes. Keep your wife busy doing things she enjoys. It helps to keep the mind positive and not focus on the unknown.

    Best of luck.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,584
    edited December 2022
    Well done, @Hubby2021 for stepping up to the plate & supporting your wife so well and finding the lump in the first place. 

    It is always very confronting, having to strip off in front of complete strangers and we've all been there.  (Many of us become a bit immune to it after a while but not always 100% comfortable with it.)

    As the girls have mentioned above - definitely ask to be present for the ultrasound and definitely be present with the Drs/Surgeons meetings if she has to go down that path.  I also had cysts that were picked up in my mid 20s ... and my lump was found in late 2017, 45 years later ... I am coming up to my 5th year anniversary of diagnosis & surgery.   

    Keep in mind that many medical professionals are on leave from Xmas to mid Jan ... so if you DO need to book in to see a surgeon (and that would only be if a biopsy was found to be positive to cancer cells) their phone messages will be monitored by their Breast Care Nurse & you should still be able to make an appointment, even tho the rooms are shut, as happened with me.  My biopsy (between Xmas & new year) came back on Jan 5th & I spoke with the BC Nurse & booked an appointment for mid Jan - I saw the surgeon on his first day back at work, had another test the next day, & surgery the day after that! 

    (Where abouts are you?  State/City? You can add it to your profile.) We may have knowledge we can share with you (privately or on this post) re surgeons/Oncs in your area etc 

    I'd be surprised if they don't allow you in to the US room, so no harm in asking.  They can only say 'yay or nay' and highlighting BOTH your concerns (particularly your wife's anxiety) may help facilitate you being in the room with her - but some US rooms are actually very tiny - about 4-5m x 4-5m - with just enough room for the US machine, a desk for the screens and the bed & a chair to put the clothes on. The ultrasound technician is looking at the screen virtually 95% of the 'exam', as they take pics of any spots they see that may need exploring/biopsy ...  It can be a bit messy for your wife too, as the technician needs to put a gel over the entire breast (and onto the chest & under the armpit) so you may even be able to help clean her up afterwards, as it is virtually impossible to get it all off yourself, before putting her top back on.)  Most US operators warm the gel up so it isn't a total shock to the body, putting the cold gel on.  But it IS messy.

    They may well check both breasts as well, to be sure there isn't anything lurking there too ..... 

    Yep, definitely stay away from Google - as every case is unique & it will just scare both of you as you'd just be guessing.

    take care & all the best to you both.  Fingers crossed it is just a cyst - and you can get on with your lives xx
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,830
    edited December 2022
    Welcome @Hubby2021 - congratulations on finding this site and for posting your queries.
    Ditto all the above responses.  Don't get ahead of yourself, take things one day at a time.
    If you put your general location in your profile there may be another local lady who is able to be of more personal support for your wife, someone to natter with.
    My husband (who has dementia) has been allowed to be with me in the ultrasound room but the mammogram rooms are usually far too small for another person.
    Many (!) years ago when I had a 'lady' problem and was shy about seeing a doctor, and him seeing my lady bits, my Mum said "you are just a bit of meat to them so don't worry".  I always remember that !
    All the best to you both.  Keep us updated.
  • CRM
    CRM Member Posts: 91
    @Hubby2021 In my experience, after your wife has the ultrasound the results will be sent to her GP. It's unlikely they will give you any information at the imaging centre as the radiographer is usually not qualified to do so. The GP will then decide if they need to refer you to a breast surgeon or not. IF the lump is suspicious and you are referred to a surgeon then they will get the ball rolling with other appointments like a biopsy to determine exactly what type of lump it is. Best of luck with the results. 
  • Hubby2021
    Hubby2021 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks, everyone, for your information and sharing your experiences.
    She's now bravely had her ultrasound (she put on a brave face, but I know 'getting the girls out' to a stranger was giving her anxiety. She did so well.), and we've seen her GP for the results. Seems her kind of breasts are 'lumpy' breasts (pretty sure that's what the doc said), and a few smaller lumps and bumps are in there but aren't of concern, nor is the larger one we found that started this process. It appears to be nothing of concern (ultrasound technician and doctor used a long word that I don't remember off-hand), but she'll have a biopsy done in the coming weeks when the biopsy doctors are all back from Christmas holidays. Again, more anxiety for this, as it again means showing her breast to another stranger -possibly a man this time- and it involves needles, cuts, and pain to a sensitive part of her body, but she's strong and has support in spades, so she'll be okay.

    It all sounds like it will be all okay, to which we are both very thankful for.
    Again, thankyou to you all for your replies and online support.
    And for those doing it tougher, or have been through it all when it is worse than this, our thoughts and prayers, for what they are worth to you, are with you all.
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 482
    That sounds like good news!
    Hopefully the biopsy confirms this.
    She is lucky to have you with her, sharing her concerns.