Need Breast Surgery/biopsy While Breastfeeding.

Updated on October 17, 2006
E.M. asks from Carrollton, TX
5 answers

About two years ago, I found a small lump in my right breast. I immediately consulted a Womens Diagnostic specialist, and they performed an ultrasound. I followed up a year later and it had SLIGHTLY grown. Both times they said the shape and positioning, along with my young age (I'm 27 now) pointed to a cyst and nothing more. They wanted me to follow up once more this year--and I had an appointment last week--but now it's doubled in size. They're hopeful that it's simply because of the hormones from being pregnant (I had a baby in June) but to be sure they want to perform a biopsy and/or remove the lump completely. However, because I'm breastfeeding she says the risk to my milk glands and of an infection is too high. I'll need to wean before the surgery or biopsy can be performed. However, I'd planned on breastfeeding for several more months. Of course, to put my mind at ease I'm willing to wean early (my son turns four months old next week) so I can take care of this procedure and find out if this is benign or not.

Has anyone gone through this? Should I get a second opinion at this point, or is weaning my only option? Any advise, or sharing your personal experience, would be greatly appreciated.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

Dear E.,
L. the lactation consultant here.

I am the mother of four breastfed children. I had a lumpectomy while breastfeeding as well as numerous mammograms, ultrasounds, needle biopsies, etc. I know what a scary time this can be for you and for your family as you await test results.
Please get a second opinion. It is not necessary to wean in order to have a breast biopsy. If you need additional information, please feel free to contact any lactation consultant (IBCLC) in your area.
To find one please visit www.ilca.org click on "find a lactation consultant" and type in your zipcode.
I'll be things of you.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.

answers from Dallas on

greetings, E.!

first off, let me say that I am sorry to hear the situation has taken a course of uncertainty for you.. sometimes, that is worse than knowing exactly what's going on. however, you seem to be very positive and that is what counts! well, I, too had 2 similar situations with my last pregnancy. first, during the pregnancy i found a small lump - got a biopsy - it was benign. thank God! but then, during the cesearean delivery of my baby girl, my heart slightly gave out - but no attention to that put me back in the hospital 1 week after discharge practically on my deathbed. my lungs were 99% full of fluid, which means my body was doubled in size! they told me if i had so much as taken an afternoon NAP, i would have drowned in my sleep! so, the specialists suggested (ordered) me to cease nursing my 2wk old daughter IMMEDIATELY!!!! Congestive Heart Failure! my heart literally could not handle it. i cried for 3 whole days in the hospital. but, my older sister made it clear for me (rather harshly, but with love): "YOU EITHER NURSE OR DIE!!!" simple as that. i say all of this to let you know that i truly empathize with you and your 'need to feed' your baby naturally. my daughter was my last installment of offspring for me (heart can't handle that either, literally). however, you are just getting started. you have had 4 wonderful months of nursing your baby boy and giving him the best of the best! linger in that joy and try to find peace in knowing that whatever procedures need to be done for your health are for LIFE! life with your son! allow weaning to be the slightest of your concerns. you have already given your son the greatest defense against early childhood 'cooties', etc. that's an awesome gift and it's real. focus on your health for his sake now! and maintain your dedication to giving him all that he needs, beyond the breast. i wish you well and God bless!!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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J.

answers from Dallas on

E.,
I know how nerve-wracking this situation can be. I found a lump just prior to my 1st daughter's birth and the surgeon I was referred to also told me I needed to stop breastfeeding to have the biopsy done. I was CRUSHED, so I asked around and got a second opinion. I came to find out that its not necessary to stop breastfeeding to have a biopsy done and found a wonderful doctor to work with. Under his care, I successfully had a needle biopsy done on my breast while breasfeeding with no need to pump and dump or even be cautious about using that breast to nurse (as with any medical procedure there are risks that the doctor will inform you of, but the benefits way outweighed the minimal risk for me). Once the biopsy came back okay, I have started regular mamograms annually (I'm just now 35 so younger than the usual age for such annual mammograms, but the lump put me in a higher risk category). Anyway, the doc I used was just listed in D Magazine's list of top doctors. I will give you his name if you like. Feel free to contact me for more info and good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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K.W.

answers from Dallas on

E.,
Many women have breastfed successfully during the biopsy and cystectomy process. You don't need to stop breastfeeding, however working with your Dr's plan of care you could consider feeding on the unaffected side only and pumping your other breast a few times a day. The antibodies in the milk may actually help your breast to heal and then return to full time feedings on both breasts. Be sure to discuss this plan with your Dr however and she may consider discussing this with a lactation consultant of her choice or may call me if she desires for references and documentation. Where the lump/biopsy site is may make a difference in the plan of care.

I hope this is helpful for you.
Please let us know how it worked out for you,
K. Willis, RN, IBCLC

1 mom found this helpful
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A.

answers from Dallas on

Hi E.,
There are natural products that has helped other ladies with the shrinkage and even disappearance of lumps in their breasts. I don't know if this will help you because everyone's body is different, but wouldn't it be worth the try to avoid surgery and to continue to breastfeed your precious first born?
You can contact me for more information at [email protected]____.com or call [email protected]____.com Bless,
A.

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