Following national guidance, you will be seen within two-weeks of your initial referral.
Depending on your age, your appointment will consist of:
- Clinical examination
- Further tests
- Review and results (if available)
You are more than welcome to bring a friend or family member along to your appointment for support.
If you feel that you would benefit from additional help, such as an interpreter, please contact the booking line and they will help you. The booking line number can be found on your appointment letter.
If you are under 40
You will first see a breast specialist, who will discuss your concerns and your reasons for referral. They will then carry out a breast examination and in some circumstances, you will be sent for an ultrasound scan. If the team strongly recommends it; you will also have a mammogram.
Younger women have naturally denser breast tissue than older women, which is why breast ultrasound is the best imaging treatment technique for this clinic. A radiologist or consultant practitioner will put some warm gel on the area of concern and perform the scan. This shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If necessary, further tests such as a core biopsy, may be obtained at the same time.
Please note: Some results will not be available on the same day.
After you have had all the necessary tests you will return to the breast team, who will now have all available results and reports to hand. They will discuss the findings, answer any further questions you may have and advise you of when to expect any outstanding results.
If you are over 40
You will first have a mammogram; which is an x-ray of your breasts. It will be carried out by one of our female staff, who will explain everything to you on the day. We will check all your details are correct and confirm the symptoms you are experiencing. A radiologist or consultant practitioner, will assess your x-rays and either send you straight for a clinical review with the breast team or perform an ultrasound.
The ultrasound is a targeted exam; which helps the radiologist or consultant practitioner to look more closely at your breast tissue. Warm gel will be used on the area of concern, then a scan will be performed. This should not be uncomfortable. If necessary, further tests such as a core biopsy, or a cyst aspiration will be performed on the day.
Please note: Some results will not be available at the time of your appointment.
Finally, you will be seen by a member of the breast team who will discuss your concerns and reason for referral. They will carry out a physical examination of your breasts and talk you through the results of you mammogram and possible ultrasound.
They will advise you when to expect any outstanding results and will discuss any treatment plans as needed. If they are happy that everything is okay, they will discharge you from the clinic. However, you may be sent back for another ultrasound, if considered necessary.
What further tests might I need?
Fine needle aspiration
Some patients may have a fine needle aspiration procedure. This involves removing a sample of cells from inside the breast using a very thin needle – similar to a blood test.
The cells are then sent away to be looked at under a microscope and checked for any abnormalities.
Cysts are fluid filled sacs within the breasts. They are usually benign (non-cancerous) and many patients are unaware they have them. However, they can sometimes grow large enough that you can physically feel them, and they can become tender or painful.
If we find that you have a cyst or collection of cysts at your symptomatic appointment, the radiologist will offer to drain the fluid within the sac. They will insert a very small needle and draw out the liquid. They may recommend you have this done, especially if you have been suffering with pain or discomfort.
A core biopsy procedure uses a needle, which is inserted into the targeted area of tissue. This is done either under ultrasonic guidance, or with the help of the mammogram machine.
Small amounts of the sample are then removed and sent to the laboratories to be looked at. You will be given some local anaesthetic beforehand, which will sting for a second, but will numb the whole area so you won’t feel anything. It’s advised to take it easy for the rest of the day and not to do anything too strenuous.
How to contact our breast care nurses
If you have any questions or would like some advice before your appointment, please do not hesitate to call our team of dedicated breast care nurses.
Phone 01642 624371