A-Z

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

Waiting for results

Waiting for results can be a difficult and emotional time. How long the wait might be depends on many different factors and can be anything from the same day to a couple of weeks. Everyone is different and feelings ranged from those who didn’t feel anxious at all to those who found waiting for results the most difficult time of all.
 
Where possible, women are given the results of their tests on the same day. Some women said that the more tests they needed and the longer they were at the hospital, the more anxious they became. Many had to go back on another day to have all the tests done and then be given the results. Some said they didn’t worry while waiting for these results, a few women saying they kept themselves busy with other things so they didn’t have time to worry. One woman said she waited nearly nine days for her biopsy results but, because she was feeling well and hadn’t had any breast symptoms, she didn’t feel anxious.
 

Sandy wasn’t worried about her results because she felt fit and well and expected nothing to be...

Sandy wasn’t worried about her results because she felt fit and well and expected nothing to be...

Age at interview: 58
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 58
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I had to go back I think eight or nine days later, which I did. And then they said that they would have to operate to take the lump out.

 

And in that eight to nine days that you were waiting, did you look for any information or did you feel worried? How were those eight or nine days because a lot of people say they went back and started looking on the Internet and …

 

No I didn’t because at that time I still thought, “Oh there’s nothing wrong with me.” I feel so fit. I can’t feel anything. So there’s nothing. And I was convinced that I was going to go back and they’d say, “All right thank you, you know, nothing to be done.”

 

Had you told anyone at this point that you’d had the tests or?

 

Yes I did. I hadn’t told anybody up until I’d had the biopsies. And then I did tell people.
 

Rachel had a christening to go to and this distracted her from worrying about her test results.

Rachel had a christening to go to and this distracted her from worrying about her test results.

Age at interview: 52
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 51
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So you had an appointment to come back in two weeks?

 

One week.

 

One week.

 

Yeah.

 

Okay, you didn’t ask any questions because you didn’t feel you had enough information…

 

That’s right.

 

…about what was going on at that stage.

 

Mmmm. Mmmmm.

 

So you then went back home. How did you feel during that week, did you think about it a lot or?

 

I think I was probably in shock. That was the Tuesday. Our friend died of cancer last year, and his daughter who is just now thirty had decided to be christened and have the children christened and that was happening on the Sunday. We were being Godparents so I was looking for an outfit. So I used that and I used the christening to take my mind off it.
For many women, though, waiting for the test results was a very worrying time. One woman described the day she would be getting her results as ‘the longest day’ of her life. Several said they were in shock during this time and a few described the waiting as ‘hell’. For some, this was the most difficult time of all because they feared the worst.
 

Waiting for her test results was worse than finding out she had DCIS because Pauline thought it...

Waiting for her test results was worse than finding out she had DCIS because Pauline thought it...

Age at interview: 52
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 49
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
That, I thought, was probably the most difficult time of everything because I felt there was something wrong but I didn't know. And I didn't know how bad it was, you know, your mind goes like wildfire because you’re thinking of all the possible scenarios. And having had a friend who’d had the double mastectomy I was thinking probably the worst scenario.
 
So in fact when I got there and the consultant said that the results had come back and that they weren’t clear, I did have cancer, but when he then began to tell me what I had, I began thinking oh this isn’t nearly so bad as I thought. In fact you know it’s only in the milk duct, it hasn’t invaded the tissues, so I can’t say I felt relief, but I felt a lot better about the whole situation because I was convinced there was something, and I was sort of thinking the worst, whereas that was not the worst scenario at all.

 

No. Waiting for the results was quite difficult then, did you, were you able to talk to anybody or did you feel that there’s any way that waiting could have been made easier?

 

I think it’s a very difficult time because you’re talking about something that hasn’t happened, so no I didn’t talk to anybody, but I was quite, I think I was quite short tempered during those two weeks.
 
There was no point telling any friends because you’d be telling them about something that might not happen. So I really, no I didn’t talk to anybody about it because I just thought well I don’t want to sort of say “Well I might have breast cancer,” because if you don’t have it, that sounds ridiculous. So no I didn’t really talk about it and I can’t think how it can be made better other than seeing somebody quicker, but then that’s often impossible, and two weeks really actually was quite good.
During this time, some women looked on the internet for more information or telephoned the clinic. Several felt that, ideally, all tests and test results should be available to women on the same day, and urged doctors to make the waiting time shorter.
 

After her biopsy, Sandra looked for more information on the internet.

After her biopsy, Sandra looked for more information on the internet.

Age at interview: 51
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 50
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Everything was sort of done all in the same afternoon. I had that mammogram, then I went in to see the doctor, and she said that there was two areas of calcification, chalk as she called it. Like chalk. And showed me the mammograms, and there was two areas that looked a bit like, as if somebody had put a cigarette out on them I thought, it just looked like that. And she said those are the ones that may be nothing, but we’re a little bit suspicious of. So what we want to do is we want to be able to get a biopsy of both of those areas, and we will, they did that on the day, with a little sort of gun type thing, and then they x-rayed to make sure that they had got the calcium deposits. And they were happy with what they had got and then said to come back in two weeks time. So I came straight home and googled it.

 

Googled?

 

As in, on the internet.

 

What did you put in?

 

Breast calcifications. And it said 80, I think it said something like 85% are nothing, but then it did say that they could be, well they described as pre-cancerous or ductal carcinoma. I didn’t, to be truthful I then put it out of my head. I was very good actually. I thought that I’d done very well. I thought what will be, will be. And I was very good at putting it out of my head.
 

Results should be given to women as quickly as possible because they can fear the worst at this...

Results should be given to women as quickly as possible because they can fear the worst at this...

Age at interview: 61
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 59
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I think the main thing is for doctors and that to realise people want answers quick. I mean, you read some of the, you hear a lot of people that’s got, I was lucky, mine was all dealt with very fast. But people that have to wait three weeks and four weeks for results, that’s, to me that’s worse, that’s really the bad thing because there’s nothing worse than your mind works overtime, doesn’t it?

 

Yeah. So when you had your tests done and had the results on the same day, didn’t you?

 

Yes, they said that you would get the result on the day but they can’t give you the full result. And, as I say, it was for the biopsy and we had to go away.
Donate to healthtalk.org

Last reviewed July 2017.

donate
Previous Page
Next Page