‘Only about half the mums who come through my door leave with their baby’

Quick disclaimer: I want to stress that I’m not looking for for medical advice. (I’m slowly muddling through that process with medical professionals.) But if anyone else has had similar experiences or can offer some perspective on this kind of situation, I’d really appreciate the input.

Several months ago, I discovered a fairly small but hard and tender mass in one of my breasts while in the shower. After an appointment with a gynecologist, an ultrasound, and a biopsy, it was determined to be a complex fibroadenoma, a benign type of tumor.

  • Upside: Not malignant/cancerous
  • Downside: Good chance of developing more similar tumors in future, potentially higher risk for breast cancer later on
  • Outlook: Some fibroadenomas grow larger, some spontaneously resolve, some don’t really change; as for mine, we just don't know yet

We don’t really know what will happen in the future, but for now, I have a lump about the size of a marble in my breast.

Given all of the above, there isn’t a pressing reason to pursue surgical removal of the tumor for strictly medical reasons. It doesn’t pose an immediate or really even long-term threat to my health at all. Personal reasons are a little bit different, though.

Because I have small breasts to begin with and the tumor is located near the “tail” of the breast tissue, even a small mass is very palpable. It actually slightly distorts the overlying skin. It is very hard to the touch and pressure on the site is painful. The only bras I can wear are soft sports styles because the edges of the cup and/or the attachment of the bra straps presses against the mass and hurts whenever I move. I rolled over in my sleep one night and ground it against my ribcage and thought I was going to throw up. As an additional angle, an area of my body that I used to find pleasurable is now off-limits during sex and it’s a source of increasing self-consciousness and anxiety for both me as well as my SO.

I want this tumor gone.

I haven’t been able to schedule an appointment with my primary care physician at home yet this summer, but I am trying. I do have decent health insurance coverage, but on a college student’s budget, even the co-pay with insurance would be a strain financially. And I can’t even decide if I’m being rational about this possibility or not. I’m confused, worried, and frustrated, and I feel rather alone on this one right now.

TL;DR: Benign breast tumor is causing significant pain and other discomfort. Surgical removal is not strictly necessary from a medical standpoint, and cost is likely prohibitive. Is it reasonable to want to pursue this surgery? If this is not a viable option, how do I handle the problems above? What would you do?

/r/TwoXChromosomes Thread Link - theguardian.com