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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.

The breast cancer team is a truly multidisciplinary team and includes specialist surgeons, a medical and clinical oncologist, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and are supported by dedicated psychology and palliative care Clinical Nurse Specialists.

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.

Do I need any tests to confirm 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

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.

What treatment are available?

Breast cancers are usually treated with either surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy (or a combination of treatments). Sometimes the radiotherapy is combined with chemotherapy or hormone therapy. The type of surgery needed and the particular combination of surgery and therapy will depend on the type and complexity of cancer.

The breast cancer service available at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides the full range of oncoplastic surgical procedures for both benign and malignant breast disorders. This ranges from simple excisions right up to immediate and delayed breast reconstructions.

There is also a well-established dual dye and radioisotope Sentinel Lymph Node biopsy service facilitated by a large Nuclear Medicine Department.