COVID-19 update:  Our hospital is still fully open for appointments and admissions, however visitors are not permitted.

Breast clinic frequently asked questions

Our breast FAQ section is a collection of common questions that our team receives. If you have a question that is not answered below then we recommend contacting us by calling 020 3370 1041.

Frequently asked questions

When will I get the results of my test?

We hope to give you most of your results on the day of your appointment. However, sometimes we need more time to analyse the tests and you maybe asked to come back to the clinic in one week for your results.

Core Biopsy test analysis is a longer process and the results are never available on the same day.

What tests are carried out during my appointment?

A mammogram is a type of X-ray of the breast. The specialist mammography radiographer will ask you to undress to the waist in the mammography room. You will be asked to stand in front of the mammography machine and 2 images of each breast will be taken – one from the front and one from the side. The breast is compressed between 2 plates to flatten it and to get as much detail on the images as possible. Some people find having a mammogram uncomfortable, but the test takes only a few seconds. Our machine is a state of the art Digital Mammography Unit, enabling us to reduce both the radiation dose and the examination time for patients. It also significantly improves on comfort as the compression times are kept to an absolute minimum.

Breast Ultrasound Scan
You will be asked to undress to the waist and lay on a couch with your arm above your head. Some jelly will be put onto your b reast and the scanning probe will be moved around your breast (this is the same technique that is used to look at babies in the womb during pregnancy).

Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC)
This test involves taking a sample of the cells from the area of the breast that we are investigating. Not everyone needs this test. FNAC is done using a fine needle and syringe. The cells are spread onto a microscope slide and sent to the laboratory to be examined. FNAC can be uncomfortable but does not usually need a local anaesthetic.

Needle Core Biopsy
Some doctors may follow up the FNAC with a Needle Core Biopsy. This procedure uses a larger needle so that more tissue can be taken from the suspicious area, which means that more detailed tests can be done on the sample. You will be given a local anaesthetic first, this will numb the area. The local anaesthetic is given under the skin with a tiny needle. You may find afterwards, that your breast aches and is bruised later. You won’t need stitches and you will be fit to go home afterwards. You will have a dressing put over the area which you should keep dry and remove after 48 hours. The nurse in the clinic will give you more information about this.

What will happen to me in the clinic?

You will be seen by specialist breast consultant who will ask you some general questions about your health and your breast problem; this will include family history of any breast problems.

The consultant will examine your breasts and decide which tests you will need based on your individual assessment.

To enable the examination of your breasts, you will be asked to undress to the waist and therefore we advise you to not wear a dress to the appointment.

How long will I have to wait in the clinic?

We aim to provide a one-stop service in the breast clinic. This can mean that your clinic appointment may take 3-4 hours.

We do our best to see you at your appointment time, but sometimes delays happen due to the tests that we do.

What will happen when I arrive at the clinic?

When you arrive at the breast clinic you should report to the reception desk where the clinic receptionist will check we have your correct address and GP details and you will be asked to register your account.

You will be asked to take a seat and complete a short health questionnaire. If you would like some help with this, please ask at reception.

The Breast Care Sister or Nurse will call you when you are due to see the doctor, and will stay with you during your consultation.

Can I bring someone with me?

You can bring a relative or friend with you and if you wish, they can be with you when you are seen by the doctor.

Why have I been referred to the Breast Clinic?

You have been referred to the breast clinic because you have a breast lump or breast problem and your General Practitioner (GP) thinks that you should be seen in a specialist clinic.

There are many reasons for breast lumps and breast problems. Please remember that 9 out of 10 women with breast lumps do not have breast cancer.

You have been referred to this clinic so that we can investigate your breast problem and decide on treatment if it is necessary. Our team of nurses, specialist consultants and radiographers all work together at the Hospital to ensure you have only one visit during which all investigations can be carried out.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 3370 1041 .

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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