Lump Near Scar


My wife had cervical cancer 8 years ago. She had a hysterectomy and a dose of radiation back in 2005. She has had no problems since then but on Saturday she noticed a small pea sized lump in her lower abdomin. It very close to a scar from her operation. The actual scar isn't her main scar from her hyterectomy but from a small procedure she had done a week after her main op to remove her drain. She visited her GP who wants to send her for a scan but has said it could be a cyst or some scar tissue. I'm panicking and wnated to check if anyone had something similar?




I can completely understand your fear. I think it must take such a long time to not constantly be worrying about recurrence, that when you get to the stage where you  think you can relax a bit, this is about the last thing you need!

I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic. Obviously I cannot say what the cause of the lump is but, if your wife has been clear for eight years, this is very unlikely to be recurrence and is far more likely to be a cyst or some other explanation. Her GP is absolutely correct in sending her for further investigation because of her history, but that does not mean he/she thinks she has cancer. I'm not going to say to you it never happens after that length of time, because it does, but I cannot stress strongly enough how incredibly rare this is. When recurrence happens with cervical cancer, it generally happens within the first 2-3 years afterwards. This is because of the nature of cervical cancer in the first place. If you don't mind me asking, what stage was your wife at when she was originally diagnosed? I'm assuming from what you've said that she hasn't had any 'symptoms' other than the lump?


Thanks Annabel. Gills had early stage cancer but it was an aggressive form but was removed successfully. She has no other symptoms other than the lump. Dr has said there are no other red flag symptoms.

In the absence of any other symptoms, I would frankly be amazed if this turned out to be a recurrence. Like I said before, I'm not going to tell you it isn't, but symptoms of recurrence tend to be blood spotting, lower back pain, problems with bowels. Of course, there are people who have no symptoms, but it seems odd that Gill would have a lump without experiencing other symptoms first if this were recurrence, especially after all this time. Anyway, it is completely correct that this is being investigated - whatever the lump is, they need to get to the bottom of it - but try not to worry, the overwhelming likelihood is that it's due to something else. 


Thanks Annabel.

I suppose it is natural to worry and today has been the worse. It's just this waiting that makes it worse. Gills is positive though, probably the reason she didn't want to tell me about it in the first place. Need to stop reading stuff on the internet as well.


You *definitely* need to stop reading stuff on the internet - there is SO MUCH nonsense on the internet about cancer and even the stuff that isn't nonsense is often out of date or doesn't tell the whole story. For example, if I look at charts for survival rates after five years for women with the type of tumour I'd had, I'd have reason to feel pretty bleak (60-something% as far as I can remember, off the top of my head). These are crude figures though and mean nothing by themselves - they do not take into account the age of the women diagnosed, the stage they were at when they were diagnosed, what treatment they received and where they received it, deaths from causes other than cancer (because people who have had cancer don't get immunity from death by other causes, and are still just as likely to get run over by a bus, choke on a chicken bone, die in a car accident etc etc...) and many other factors. If I factor in all of these things, my chance of still being alive in five years goes up to something like 96%. So, don't believe everything you read..... apart from this post, obviously! ;-) 

You're right, it is very natural to worry - you'd be a bit of an odd chap if you weren't at least mildly concerned about this wouldn't you - but even though I am a very heart-led person, I really believe at a time like this when you have to wait (you're right, waiting is so difficult and leaves your mind to go into overdrive) and you do not know what the outcome will be, it can be helpful to reassure yourself with logic and facts such as those above. Hold on to the overwhelming likelihood that this is not recurrence. 

And if you feel that coming on here is helpful to you, then continue to do that; it's important that you get the support you need. 


Hi Annabel

I'm actually going back to see my counsellor this week. I keep cutting myself up about the fact I'm allowing negativity to creep in and effect my health and also Gillian because she is really positive just now. I get so frightened of losing her but then I keep telling myself that it is very likely to be something other than a recurrence. For 8 years I've been up and down with regards to the issue.

Can I ask Annabel if you work in the health sector?


Hi Gary, 

No, I don't work in the health sector. I'm a Research Academic, so am not at all medically or clinically trained, but I am very used to 'academic speak', I know how to navigate research and determine whether something is a reliable source of information, I know how to find things out and what questions to ask, I understand how data should be collected and how some data can often be misrepresented, I understand what constitutes a 'scientific study' etc etc.. and I don't find it difficult to understand the fundamental technicalities/mechanisms of cancer. Obviously, if I do not know something or am not sure about something, then I will always say so, but my inquisitive nature means I'm quite likely to want to know the answer to something I don't know, so will generally go and find out! I'm lucky enough to include medical scientists, micro-biologists and geneticists amongst my friends, many of whom have been thoroughly grilled by me over the last nine months!! It seems that some people on here feel that I explain things in a way which makes it easy to understand, so I am very happy to do so if it helps people, as I think the more people are armed with knowledge, then the less they'll feel like they're out in the middle of nowhere. 

Anyway, I'm glad you're going to see your counsellor - it's wise to get the support you need and I hope it helps. Try not to beat yourself up about feeling frightened - you feel however you feel and I completely understand that you're scared. I have often tried to put myself in my husband's shoes, to try and know what it must have been like for him to be the person watching the other person have cancer and looking after them. It's very difficult and I'm not sure I can put myself in his position, anymore than he can put himself in mine - it's just a very different experience I think - but I have to say, I cannot imagine that I would cope very well with it if I was the one in his position or your position and I know with certainty that I would be absolutely terrified of losing him, so try not to beat yourself up about having feeling which are just very human! 


Thanks Annabel you have been really helpful over the past week. I'm starting to feel a bit better and being positive about things. Gills is very positive so I feel it only right that I should support her with the same frame of mind. I remember her clinical nurse advising her that Gills would know herself if there was something wrong. The fact she feels fine and healthy and has no other problems is a good sign I would imagine.


Hi Gary, 

I'm glad you're finding it useful to come onto this site and am glad you're feeling more positive. It's a very difficult thing and I think waiting can be so stressful because your mind can just go crazy with the 'what ifs'. 

Yes, it is a good sign that Gill has no other symptoms and feels well in herself. However positive she is being, I am sure there is a part of her underneath that is scared as well and she probably doesn't want to worry you. 

Have you got a date for Gill's appointment yet? 


Annabel when are you going to publish your book on coping with cervical cancer? Your insight and advice are written in such a clear and articulate way, based on your experience, knowledge and helpful facts. You are like a kind and helpful friend with the gift of just “getting” what people are going through, and you seem to know exactly the right things to say in so many circumstances!

I’m not a frequent visitor to the forum but when I do pop in your posts really stand out in terms of helpfulness and insight. We at Jo’s are lucky to have you, even if the reason you joined is pretty unlucky, but at least that’s something we can all relate to!

Reserve me a signed copy when you get that publishing deal! Lots of love Xxx

I too would buy the book! Annabel’s certainly helped my understanding of cancer, what the NHS should be doing and the personal issues we face at all stages. Xx

Annallan and Jo, 

Thank you for that - I am really touched. Funnily enough, I did start writing a book about it a few months ago. It's come to a bit of a standstill more recently because I've got two research deadlines to meet - one at the end of this week (yikes!) and the next on 12th July - but now I know it's not a stupid idea, I shall get on with it over the summer! 

There is another publication that I want to 'do' as well, the idea with that one being that a proportion of the profits from each sale would go to Jo's, but I haven't run that past Rebecca et al yet, so it's really very early stages. However, I shall keep the forum posted on both!

Thanks again ladies for your lovely words. 

Much love, Annabel. x


Annabel, I would buy your book for sure! Please do it. Xx

Me too Annabel!! :slight_smile:
4 sales already!!! Xx

Haha! Thanks ladies! Smile xxxx