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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.

Who is the clinic for?

It is for patients who have been referred with a breast lump or other breast problem.

Before you come to the clinic

You may wish to bring a member of your family or a friend to keep you company and to provide support for you. It is not a good idea to bring young children with you as they may get bored during the visit. If not, and you wish to have a chaperone for your appointment, please let one of the nurses know on your arrival to the clinic.

You may find it helpful to write down your concerns or questions before your appointment and to bring them with you as a reminder.

Details about possible Investigations or Tests

During the course of your appointment, you may be asked to undergo an investigation or test to help the specialist in making a diagnosis. These may include the following:


This is an x-ray of your breasts. Each breast is held firmly between two plates and several images will be taken of each breast. Some women may find this uncomfortable but it only lasts a few seconds. Mammograms are offered to most women attending the clinic over the age of 40. If necessary, please ask during your appointment to see further information on mammograms.

Ultrasound Scan

An ultrasound examination is a painless way of obtaining a picture of the inside of your breast without using x-rays. It involves gently moving a sensor over the breast, which picks up sound waves that produce a picture on a screen. This is a useful test for younger women – and it may be the only test needed. For women over 40 this test may be offered as well as a mammogram.

Needle Biopsy

Following a local anaesthetic to numb the area the specialist will insert a needle to remove a small sample (core biopsy) of the breast tissue, which is then sent to the laboratory for more detailed examination.

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)

This is a quick and simple test, similar to a blood test. A needle is inserted into the breast lump to draw off cells or fluid. It can be a little painful, but it only takes a few moments. The cells are then sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Are there any complications?

Both the fine needle aspiration (FNA) and core biopsy tests are very safe procedures but there are some possible complications, such as:

  • Pain
  • Bruising/bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pneumothorax collapsed lung – rare

Your specialist will discuss these with you in detail beforehand.

Please note that x-rays can be harmful to an unborn child so you must tell the radiographer if you think that there is a chance that you could be pregnant.

Following your investigations

If your results are available on the day of your appointment then your specialist will discuss your results with you. A breast care nurse will also be available to offer information and support.

Please note that given the nature of these investigations, you may be asked to attend the clinic again for a further follow up appointment which will be booked by the clinic reception staff following your initial appointment.

What happens next?

If necessary, your specialist will discuss the options for further investigations and treatment. If you require surgery then you will be offered a date for the operation.

For more information about Breast Cancer, a downloadable leaflet can be found here.

Patient support services

A clinical nurse specialist will always be present when a patient is told of a diagnosis of breast cancer. This breast cancer nurse will be their key worker throughout their treatment programme. She will be able to provide rapid access to services and provide practical and psychological support both to the patient and their relatives.

Patient aftercare

All patients have access to the clinical nurse specialists whilst under the care of the Breast Unit.

All patients will have an individual treatment plans folllowing their surgical treatment.

Post-operative patients are initially seen 7-10 days after their surgery to discuss the pathology results upon which their treatment plan will depend.

All patients who have undergone surgery are discussed in the weekly multidisciplinary team meeting and are seen by the oncology teams where this is appropriate.

We provide full access to ancillary services such as physiotherapy and dietetics.