Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

The majority of breast cancers are discovered by the women themselves when they attend their doctor after noticing a lump or having breast pain or discharge. The earlier that breast cancer is discovered, the greater the chance of a full recovery so this is why women are advised on how to check for lumps at their well woman check. Early detection can save lives.
132 Harley Street have two consultants who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, Consultant Gynaecologist Mr J Richard Smith and Mr Adam Stacey-Clear. Mr Smith trained at the University of Glasgow and in addition to helping women with cancer is an expert researcher in the pioneering field of uterine transplantation. Mr Stacey-Clear trained at St. Thomas’ hospital in London and completed a Harvard Scholarship to study breast imaging.
Whichever consultant you choose to diagnose your breast condition, you can be assured of a professional and caring service.
Breast Examination
The first stage of diagnosis involves examining the breasts for lumps, discharge, ulcers or other abnormal signs. The doctor will also check for any swollen lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
Breast X-ray (Mammogram)
If an abnormality is detected on examination, a breast X-ray called a mammogram may be ordered. This can help provide a visual image of the lump if it is too small to feel. Ultrasound can be used instead or may be used in conjunction with a mammogram. Ultrasound can also be used as a visual guide if you need to have a biopsy.
Breast Biopsy
A biopsy is a process to remove cells from the lump or affected area for diagnosis. This is done by inserting a long, fine needle into the lump and aspirating a sample. The sample is then examined under a microscope.
Treatment for Cancer
If you have breast cancer, your chosen consultant will guide you through your proposed treatment plan. Several types of breast surgery are available to treat breast cancer, depending on the grade (how far the cancer has spread). If your cancer is in its initial stages, you may be able to have a lumpectomy where only the cancerous tissue is removed and the breasts remain. Some women choose this if they don’t want to have a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breasts). If you do choose a lumpectomy, you will be advised to have radiotherapy afterwards to make sure all of the cancer has been removed. If you have a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is available to improve your appearance and can be done at the same occasion.

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