Know your breasts!

Blog Health News 8th October 2019 Enquiries & appointments

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and is not exclusive to women. Approximately, 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and about 370 men will be diagnosed every year.1

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is important as it can help diagnose cancer quickly and ultimately save lives. You may be surprised to know then that, according to a survey by Breast Cancer Care, a fifth of women don’t know how to check their breasts and a third are not checking regularly.

No one knows our bodies better than we do – we are our own experts. With Breast cancer survival improving all the time (almost 9 in 10 women survive breast cancer for five or more years) knowing how your own breasts look and feel, learning how to check your breasts and what differences to look for will help you in the fight against cancer.

Knowing your breasts

The best way to get to know your breasts and what is normal for you, is to look and feel them regularly. This can be done when you are in the shower, using body lotion or when you are getting dressed. There is not a special way in which you should feel your breasts, so do this in a way that is comfortable for you but make sure you check your armpits and all the way up to your collar bone too.

When looking for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, most people know to look for a lump but there are many other symptoms to be aware of:

  • Changes in the size or shape of a breast
  • Dimpling to the skin of the breast
  • Thickened breast tissue
  • Nipple inversion
  • Lump or thickening behind the nipple
  • Rash affecting the nipple
  • Blood-stained discharge from the nipple
  • Swelling or a lump in the armpit

We understand having any of these symptoms can be concerning, and you want to be seen by an expert and have test results back quickly. At our One Stop Breast Clinic, our team of specialists will be able to walk you through the process, answer any questions and make your experience as stress-free as possible.

Although having these symptoms may be a sign of breast cancer, it does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Getting checked as soon as possible will give you the peace of mind you need.

How to check for symptoms?

The first stage of checking for symptoms can be simply done by yourself at home. You need to know what is normal for you and what to look out for. The best way to do this is to look at your breasts and feel them – make sure you are examining all areas and looking out for any of the listed symptoms of breast cancer, especially a breast lump or any pain.

If you are concerned, it is always best to get seen. Early diagnosis can make a big difference to treatment.

Please note: If you are aged 50+ you will be offered regular breast screening appointments by the NHS to reduce the risk of breast cancer and detect abnormalities early.

At KIMS Hospital’s One Stop Breast Clinic, based on your clinical assessment by your Consultant, you may need the following procedures:

  • Mammography – The mammogram only takes a few minutes and will be operated by a female Mammographer. A mammogram scanner will detect small amounts of cancer that can’t be felt.
  • Breast ultrasound – This scanner sends soundwaves through the breast tissue to detect any signs of breast cancer or other breast-related conditions.
  • Core biopsy – This is a hollow needle that will take a small amount of breast tissue to be examined for cancer cells.
  • Cyst Aspiration – If a fluid filled cyst is shown on ultrasound then it may be possible to drain this – The radiologist places a small needle into the cyst utilising ultrasound, and drains the cyst.

What to expect at your Breast Clinic Appointment

  1. First meeting with your Consultant Breast Surgeon – One of our dedicated clinic Nurses will support you during your initial meeting with your Consultant Breast Surgeon who will discuss your symptoms and examine you.
  2. Same day diagnostic scans – Your Consultant may request that you have diagnostic tests during your appointment. This is usually either a mammogram and/or ultrasound. Please be aware that you may be in the clinic for approximately 2-3 hours. In some instances, further examination is required, and your Consultant may request a core biopsy. These are usually returned within 10-14 days.
  3. Follow-up with Consultant – Your Consultant will then take time to talk you through the results of your mammogram and/or ultrasound during your appointment. If you have had a biopsy during your appointment, you will be booked in for another appointment in around two weeks to get the results. One of our Nurses will be able to offer you any support and guidance you might want throughout all your appointments.
  4. If further treatment is needed – If your Consultant Breast Surgeon recommends further treatment, they will discuss all the available options with you. Our Breast Care Nurse Specialists will also be able to support you and help with any questions you might have.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you do not need a referral from your GP to attend the Breast Clinic at KIMS Hospital. For more information, you can contact or Enquiries Team on: 01622 237727.



1Statistics from Breast Cancer Care

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Madeleine Greenhalgh Senior Marketing & Communications Manager 01622 237663