Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
Symptoms to look for include:
- a lump or swelling in the tissue of your breast
- a change in the size or shape of one of your breasts
- discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood)
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- a rash on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breasts.
Breast pain in not usually a symptom of breast cancer. If any of the above symptoms apply to you, it is advisable to see your doctor for a check-up. You can read more about breast cancer here.
Diagnosis and treatment at CCL
Cancer Centre London offers a friendly and comprehensive breast care service. We care for patients from assessment, diagnosis and treatment through to aftercare and support services.
We offer a ‘one stop breast clinic‘ for patients with any breast related symptom whether this be a worrisome lump, breast asymmetry, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, breast pain or skin changes. The ‘One Stop Breast Clinic’ involves a triple assessment offering a thorough and accurate breast cancer diagnosis. The entire process can take less than an hour.
If you are referred to CCL for diagnosis, you will receive world-class care, tailored to your individual needs. Your consultant or oncologist will be experienced in dealing with breast cancer and will advise you on which tests are relevant to your individual symptoms. Usually, in order to identify breast cancer, we’ll give you a One-Stop Diagnosis, which is an exhaustive investigation comprising of three separate elements. These are:
- A Clinical Examination, which is a physical examination of your breast and surrounding area by a Consultant Breast Surgeon
- Radiology, which can involve:
- A Mammogram, which involves taking an x-ray image of the breast, using low levels of radiation to create an image of the area of focus
- A breast ultrasound scan, which uses high frequency sound waves to look inside the body and produce live images on a computer display
- A histology, where a very fine needle is used to take sample cells from the breast
- A Core Biopsy, where a doctor takes a sample of tissue from the lump
At CCL, patients with breast cancer are treated by a multi disciplinary team. This team works together to create a treatment plan to suit the individual needs of the patient,and includes breast surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and breast care nurses. This ensures that each patient gets the benefit of several specialist opinions and individualised treatment plans are formulated.
All patients have access to highly trained breast care nurses, available on site to answer queries about any aspect of the treatment process and for support during the treatment. Once a diagnosis of breast cancer is made, there are several treatment options available, which may be undertaken in combination or singularly, depending on the situation of each individual patient. They are:
- a lumpectomy, where only the affected tissue is removed
- a mastectomy, which is the removal of one or both breasts
- Radiotherapy, where high-energy rays are used to destroy the cancer cells
- Chemotherapy, which involves the use of chemical agents which are toxic to cancer cells, destroying them and preventing them from spreading to different areas. This can be given by injection or in tablet form.
- Hormone therapy, where drugs are used to reduce estrogen production
- Biotherapy, which are newer and more targeted therapies assist the body in fighting the disease.
At CCL we provide support both physically and emotionally before, during and after treatment. We offer a wide range of services for patients, as well as their loved ones, designed to make a very difficult time as easy as possible, and to give our patients the best treatment and support possible. These include counselling, physiotherapy, Pilates, group sessions and many more.
We provide a dedicated Breast Care Nursing service to support patients with breast cancer and can be given the authority to act as patient advocate. There are also a number of other services on offer at CCL, which have been specifically designed to help breast cancer patients to cope with their condition before, during and after treatment.
Breast Cancer Consultants