Old 09-30-2009, 08:23 AM
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Inverted Nipple

Okay, first, the usual disclaimers: the person involved is seeing a doctor soon, has rummaged around online, just wants some reassurance.

My sister called last night to tell me that one of her nipples has suddenly inverted. This is not the normal state of affairs for her. She did some looking online and cancer was almost always mentioned as a cause. The thing is, she just had a mammogram and a biopsy on that breast a few months ago, and they found nothing. She did develop a huge hematoma as a result of the biopsy that took a long time to subside. I found one reference to inversion being caused by the development of scar tissue, and I'm wondering if the biopsy could have caused scarring that has lead to this?

Has anyone had any experience with this, and how can it be corrected? Are there other benign causes for a sudden onset like this? Might it go away? Could a cancer develop quickly enough to cause this without being detected by either the mammo or the biopsy?
Old 09-30-2009, 09:00 AM
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I personally don't know, but I'm curious to see what the cause is. If your sister is ok with it, please let us know!
Old 09-30-2009, 10:34 AM
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I'm just curious as to whether it hurts? Because it sounds hella painful.
Old 09-30-2009, 11:01 AM
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She didn't mention any pain...she just noticed it when she was getting dressed. But then she's been used to feeling the giant bruise for so long after the biopsy.
Old 09-30-2009, 11:38 AM
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OMFG. She needs to go running back to her doctor.

I had a casual friend who, a couple of years ago, started to have some odd changes in her breast that are usually attributable to cancer. But she didn't go to the doctor, because she had just had a mammogram, a biopsy, and a resulting hematoma (like your sister) and felt it was just a complication of the biopsy.

Nope. It was cancer.

Just because a doctor didn't see something on a mammogram, doesn't mean it isn't there. Doctors make mistakes, and the test is not perfect. ETA: They may not have biopsied the place where the cancer actually was.

Last edited by Q.N. Jones; 09-30-2009 at 11:40 AM.
Old 09-30-2009, 04:53 PM
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She IS trying to get an appointment but was hoping she could put it off for a few weeks. I'll advise her to insist on being seen sooner rather than later.
Old 09-30-2009, 05:10 PM
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This is something that should be looked at without delay, but I wouldn't panic either. The body's responses to trauma (which the biopsy counts as) can be varied and strange, so this really may be more of a question mark than a red flag. Still, a question mark warrants investigation, and getting a doctor to check things out right away is the smart thing to do.
Old 09-30-2009, 08:30 PM
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If it is cancer, it can be easily treated if caught early. Tell her to hie herself and her inverted nipple to a doctor.

ivylass, breast cancer survivor
Old 09-30-2009, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.N. Jones View Post
Just because a doctor didn't see something on a mammogram, doesn't mean it isn't there. Doctors make mistakes, and the test is not perfect.
Yep, and have her INSIST on an ultrasound, it's a better diagnostic than a mammogram.
Old 09-30-2009, 09:45 PM
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She may also need to get a breast coil MRI. That, I think, is the gold standard right now (at least until someone invents those Star Trek scanning devices.)
Old 09-30-2009, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.N. Jones View Post

Just because a doctor didn't see something on a mammogram, doesn't mean it isn't there. Doctors make mistakes, and the test is not perfect. ETA: They may not have biopsied the place where the cancer actually was.
Some masses are missed. Some are impossible to see because of dense breast tissue or scar. Some simply are not visible on mammogram, and never will be. MRI is useful, but generally acts to augment, not to replace, mammography.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Askance View Post
Yep, and have her INSIST on an ultrasound, it's a better diagnostic than a mammogram.
Ultrasound is most useful for evaluating a palpable abnormality. It is a lot less useful if there is no localizing information. Again, ultrasound augments, but doesn't replace, screening mammography.

A reasonable comparison looking for a shipwreck. After you have done the hard work with the charts and the weather maps and the ships logs, then using sonar is worthwhile. If you just drive out into the ocean with the sonar on, you're unlikely to find a galleon.

Regardless, sooner rather than later for the doctor's appointment. Good luck to her.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:25 PM
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Here where I live we have a Provincial Breast Screening Program.

Yes, it's the land of socialized medicine and they encourage every woman to get tested yearly, after 45, I think. As there is no cost to client women largely are willing to participate.

(More testing=more lives saved, caught earlier=more lives saved, caught earlier + more lives saved=huge cost savings over end care for the thousands who cannot afford testing in a 'for profit' system, but I digress!)

The program is extremely well managed. Women are provided with great educational material, a book to record all the tests and results in, information about what next. Women are notified, by mail, same time as the doctor, (the result of continuing improvement of the process, after feed back from women in the program in the early stages), and the nurses actively educate the women they see.

I've been going for several years now and, honestly, already am on board with the whole education thing, but I never go in that they don't go through it all again, and it changes a little now and then.

Last spring when I was in, they had made changes, this time they made a point of saying that if your nipples suddenly change, for instance, became inverted, that you need to see your doctor directly. Something I was completely unaware of, and, honestly wouldn't have been intuitive for me.

Please, don't let her put it off three weeks. Make her call the doctor tomorrow. I reckon when they hear why she'll be seen right smartly!

She'll be in my thoughts, please let us know how this pans out.

Last edited by elbows; 09-30-2009 at 10:27 PM.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:47 PM
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As of this moment she doesn't have an appointment...the nurse emailed the surgeon, but hasn't gotten a reply. She already has an appointment for a regular 6-month follow-up mammo from the biopsy...that appointment is in 16 days. She thinks they may want her to wait until after she has that mammo done...I told her to ask to get bumped up in line. She's going to call the surgeon's office back tomorrow morning. The nurse didn't seem to think it was a "move to the head of the line" thing, but that may just my sister's tendency to say, "oh, no, that's fine, I can wait" personality.We'll see what transpires tomorrow.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:51 PM
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It could be inflammatory breast cancer. Often with that type of cancer, there are no lumps. Nipples invert, breasts are warm and flushed. (Normal breasts feel cool to the touch...) There could be a rash. Inflammatory breast cancer grows in nests or sheets, not lumps. It's possible a mammogram would not detect it.
Sorry to be an alarmist...it's what I have.
IBC can be aggressive---it's treatable, but I would suggest getting to the doctor quickly.
Old 11-09-2009, 09:46 PM
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No heat, no rash...nipple popped back out, popped back in...she had a different type of biopsy a week ago, and got the results today...breast cancer.

But it was very small, and they got it all, with clean margins. In two weeks she will have the lymph nodes checked, and then a decision on further treatment.

Apparently, they had already called her (before this incident) and moved her follow-up from the June biopsy to October from the original December, because they weren't happy with the way the pathology report was worded. She sort of neglected to tell me that, or maybe she didn't quite understand why they had asked her to move it forward two months. Anyhow, they had already thought she needed a second look.

She's a bit emotional today, and I got to break the news to our mom first, so that she could be calmer when she talked to Mom (who had her own bout with breast cancer 5 years ago at 80) and even though I am relieved that it's out, it's gone...I'm still in need of crawling into bed and having a good cry.

And yes, I called to schedule my mammogram, which is 6 months overdue......

Thanks for everyone's good thoughts for her.

Last edited by kittenblue; 11-09-2009 at 09:47 PM.
Old 11-10-2009, 10:41 AM
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Good luck to your sister. My sister had breast cancer two years ago, and came out just fine.

StG
Old 11-10-2009, 10:30 PM
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Good thoughts for your sister and your family.
Old 11-11-2009, 08:01 AM
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Sending healing thoughts her eay.
Old 11-12-2009, 01:30 PM
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Hugs to your sis. Hang in there...it will be a bit rough, but she'll make it.
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