GP Referral to a Breast Clinic

Author: Jess Batten - Communications Officer - February 7, 2022

breast cancer awareness

GP referral to a breast clinic

 

This information is for anyone that has been referred by a GP to a breast clinic after displaying signs or symptoms of breast cancer. For information on routine breast screening, commonly referred to as a mammogram, click here.

 

Being referred by your GP

If you notice any signs or symptoms of breast cancer, visit your GP as soon as possible. From there you may be referred to a breast clinic. The vast majority of people who are seen at a breast clinic will not have breast cancer. However, it’s still important to attend your breast clinic appointment so you can be fully assessed.

GPs follow guidance when deciding whether or not to refer you to a breast clinic. Here you can find the guidance for England and WalesNorthern Ireland and Scotland.

 

What happens during your appointment?

Your appointment will take place at a breast clinic. You will be cared for by an expert team of nurses and doctors while you attend the clinic. Your appointment may take several hours so that all the necessary tests can be carried out. You are welcome to bring someone with you if this would make you feel more comfortable.

  • You will be asked questions about your symptoms, previous breast problems, your general health and any drugs you take as well as your family history – particularly of breast cancer.
  • From there, you may receive a breast exam by a female member of staff.
  • You may receive a mammogram. A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breasts and is a method of finding breast cancer at a very early stage. For more information about what to expect from your first mammogram, click here.
  • You may also receive an ultrasound of your breasts which is a painless handheld x-ray scanner which is good for looking at young breast tissue (because young breast tissue tends to be denser than breast tissue in older people).
  • Based on these results you may be asked to have a core biopsy or fine needle aspiration (FNA).

Your nurse will keep you informed every step along the way, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

 

When will I get my results?

If your breast screening appointment was done in a one-stop clinic, which is where all the tests are carried out during a single visit to the clinic, then your results may be available on the same day if biopsies (needle tests) are not needed.

If a biopsy is needed, the results will be available once those samples and your mammogram, ultrasound and tissue tests are reviewed. This will be done at a multi-disciplinary team meeting where the surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists and breast care nurses review all of the results to ensure the appropriate information is available to plan any treatment if required. This usually takes about one week.

Most people who visit a breast clinic leave being told they do not have breast cancer. But if you are given a diagnosis, this can obviously be very upsetting. The doctor will explain what their findings are as well as their recommendations for treatment. You will be assigned a breast care nurse who is there to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

 

COVID-19

Remember to always follow government guidelines around Covid-19. There may be extra precautions in place such as hand sanitising, wearing a mask and attending your appointment on your own. Please contact your breast clinic directly to find out more.

 

ABOUT PREVENT BREAST CANCER

Prevent Breast Cancer is the only UK charity entirely dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer – we’re committed to freeing the world from the disease altogether. Unlike many cancer charities, we’re focused on preventing, rather than curing. Promoting early diagnosis, screening and lifestyle changes, we believe we can stop the problem before it starts. And being situated at the only breast cancer prevention centre in the UK, we’re right at the front-line in the fight against the disease.

Join us today and help us create a future free from breast cancer. If you have any questions or concerns, email info@preventbreastcancer.org.uk today.