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Breast Care

We care for patients with breast disease.

Based at Wycombe Hospital, we see patients from across Buckinghamshire for breast screening and symptomatic care.

We diagnose and treat benign (non cancerous) and malignant breast conditions. Our team works closely with staff who specialise in breast radiology, diagnostics, oncology, and plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Our team includes breast care nurses, clinical psychologists, geneticists, and lymphoedema specialists.

Referrals to the Breast Care Service

We see urgent patient referrals from your GP within 2 weeks, often sooner.

What to expect during your appointment

We see patients with breast lumps, pain, discharge and other symptoms. A consultant will see you and you may need a mammogram and/or an ultrasound scan.

We’ll tell you the results on the same day.

If we detect any abnormalities, we may need to do further mammograms or a needle test/biopsy. We do these tests on the same day.

A specialist breast care nurse will provide support during your appointment and examination.

 

Every 3 years, we invite patients aged between 50-70, who are registered with a GP and living in Buckinghamshire, to have routine mammograms.

It’s part of a national screening programme to help detect breast cancer in its early stages. Mammograms can help save lives with a better chance of effective treatment.

You’ll get a free and automatic invitation so there’s no need to make your own appointment. Women attending for the first time may get an invitation between the ages of 50 and 53.

What to expect during your mammogram

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray of your breasts. It can help to identify cancers that are too small to feel or see.

The process takes around 15 minutes. You may need further tests, including a physical examination while you’re with us so please allow 2-3 hours for your appointment.

Find out more about what happens during your mammogram and who you’ll see 

Your mammogram results

You’ll get a letter within 2 weeks with your results. We may ask you to come back for further tests. This does not necessarily mean that something is wrong and 3/4 patients get a normal result after further tests.

If we invite you for further tests in our assessment clinic and you want to speak to someone to help address your concerns, call us on 01494 426109.

Find out more about your results and what they might mean

 

We use various tests for diagnosis including:

Mammography (breast screening)

We take a low -dose x-ray of the breast tissue. Each breast is compressed between two plastic plates while we take the x-ray. We take 2 views.

The process may feel slightly uncomfortable but only lasts 30 seconds.

Ultrasound

We use a probe to transmit sound waves to see an image of your breast and use a lubricating gel to improve contact with the skin. We then view that image on a display monitor. Ultrasound examination doesn’t usually cause any pain.

An ultrasound helps us detect solid lumps and cysts (fluid filled lumps). It’s helpful in women under 35 who have much denser breasts as abnormalities in that age group may be hard to see on mammograms.

Fine needle aspiration cytology

A highly sensitive test that can differentiate between benign and malignant cells. We insert a thin needle into your breast to collect a small amount of cells. We then send these to the laboratory for analysis.

We also use cytology to draw fluid from a cyst which removes it. It’s slightly uncomfortable and sometimes causes bruising.

Core biopsy

Using a local anesthetic during an ultrasound or mammogram, we use a wider needle than the one we use for cytology. It means we can take a larger number of cells and get a conclusive diagnosis.

It takes a few days before we get a result due to laboratory processing.

 

If you need an operation, we usually do it within 1 or 2 weeks.

Sometimes we can do breast operations, including cancer procedures, as day cases. Before your operation, we’ll explain the procedure in detail, and go through it again with you on the day of surgery.

Surgical treatments include:

Sentinel node biopsy and OSNA

We offer most women breast conserving surgery if they don’t have clinically abnormal lymph glands. Instead of removing the majority of armpit lymph glands, we typically only remove 1 or 2 lymph glands and conserve as much of the breast as possible.

This means you’ll have far fewer potential side-effects from surgery and typically be able to go home on the same day. You’ll need a special scan before the operation and an injection of blue dye into the breast during the operation.

Mastectomy

If you need a mastectomy, we’ll offer breast reconstruction where appropriate. If we can’t do reconstruction, we’ll remove the breast and usually some lymph nodes. We’ll drain the wound and give you a local anaesthetic block during the operation to reduce postoperative pain.

Most patients go home within 24 hours.

Breast reconstruction

We’ll offer you breast reconstruction where possible. We’ll perform a ‘skin sparing’ mastectomy where we preserve most of the breast skin to produce a good cosmetic outcome.

We offer all types of reconstruction and will discuss each option with you in detail.

Benign breast lumps

Sometimes these need removing. We do most operations as day cases via cosmetic incisions.

Inpatient care

If you need to stay in hospital overnight, our ward nurses and breast care nurses will look after you. Your surgeon will see you regularly after the operation and we’ll make an outpatient appointment for you before we discharge you.

Breast care patient information

Contact

Appointments and questions
Appointments and questions

01494 425689

9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday