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Approximately 55,100 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year, usually in women who are over 50 years of age and who have reached the menopause. However, it is possible for women of any age to be affected by breast cancer and, in rare cases, the condition can also affect men.

What we offer at St George’s Hospital

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust offers a comprehensive diagnostic service. Advanced Nurse Practitioners have led on the development of Breast Diagnostic services and also that of virtual clinics. Advanced Nurse Practitioners are involved in every stage of the patient pathway. The Breast Unit at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is co-located with the South West London NHS Breast Screening Service.

To further aid diagnosis, the Radiology Department at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides a comprehensive imaging service (including MRI, CT and ultrasound technologies) whilst the Pathology service provides expert analysis of blood, cells and tissues.

St George’s Hospital is a large teaching hospital with the full range of skills and support services needed to be able to carry out complex cancer surgery. These include intensive care (ITU), anaesthetic and pain management services which are all available on site.

All GP referrals regarding suspected breast cancer are subject to the two-week rule referral criteria and are therefore considered as urgent. Appointments may be booked at short notice however you should be available to receive an appointment in the breast clinic at any time within a two-week period after your GP has referred you.

What is the breast clinic?

The breast clinic is an outpatient clinic where you can see a specialist. You may have all of your investigations at this first visit within the Rose Centre which helps to speed up the process of identifying problems. It can take up to four hours to complete so please allow plenty of time. Some of the results may be available on the same day; others will be available the following week.

Diagnosis

The diagnostic process is undertaken by a team of consultant breast surgeons, advanced nurse practitioners, a breast diagnostician and surgical trainees. In addition to the traditional full consultation with an experienced diagnostician, this one-stop model of care provides the following on-the-day services to patients where appropriate:

  • FNA (fine needle biopsy)
  • Image guided biopsy
  • Clinical biopsy
  • Imaging including an ultrasound scan and mammogram

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