A patient referred for breast screening at St George’s Hospital has urged others to continue seeking medical advice if they have breast concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarah Huntley, 57, an actress from Wimbledon, was referred by her GP to the Rose Centre, St George’s breast clinic, after experiencing pains under her left armpit.

Sarah is relieved her test results were normal, but is now encouraging others to not delay getting their symptoms checked. In recent weeks, the Rose Centre has seen a reduction in the number of patients like Sarah being referred with breast concerns.

Sarah said: “I had a feeling of little sparklers and thought maybe it could just be a pulled muscle, as I couldn’t feel any lumps or bumps. But I knew from friends that have had breast cancer that doesn’t mean everything is OK.

“The combination of pain and the fact I’d had these sparkly feelings going off inside made me go to my GP. She booked me an appointment at St George’s quite quickly, so I knew I’d said something to her which had ticked a box.”

During her appointment, Sarah was given a breast examination followed by a mammogram (breast x-ray) to check for any abnormalities.

Sarah continued: “The nurse I was seen by was lovely. She didn’t make me think I was wasting time – or saying anything stupid – and talking to her helped me enormously.

“I’m humbled and fortunate to say my mammogram was OK, but whatever the outcome I knew I would be in safe hands. I also feel reassured that I could go back if I wanted to in the future.”

Mr Anup Sharma, Consultant Breast Surgeon, said: “We’d like to remind everyone that our breast clinics at St George’s are now running as normal. If you have any breast concerns, please consult your GP who can refer you to us if required.

“As with many breast units throughout the country, we’ve seen a significant drop in the number of patients being referred. We normally see over one hundred patients each week, but currently we are seeing around forty.”

“We do understand that people have concerns about coming to hospital at this time, but we are here to support you and will keep you safe.”

Sarah added: “Everyone in the Rose Centre, from the nurses and doctors, to the staff at the coffee shop and the team behind the reception desk, were so kind and lovely.

“Anyone that’s been there [to the Rose Centre] will know that you don’t have to walk through the hospital – it’s a self-contained unit. It felt calm, homely and a safe environment.

“I would urge anyone with breast concerns to get them checked out by a specialist. No friend – not even the best friend in the world – can give you the professional advice you need.”

If you have concerns about any types of cancer, please do not delay contacting your GP. They are offering phone or video appointments to give you the advice you need. If you have Covid-19 related symptoms, please do not visit your practice.