In this episode of the podcast, I discuss what to expect when you attend a breast clinic. Deciding that you need to come can be quite scary and overwhelming. If you have never been to a breast clinic, the uncertainty of what to expect can be frightening and stressful.
Here I break down step by step what you will experience and hopefully by doing so, it will allay any fears you may have before coming to a breast clinic.
1.Set aside enough time for your clinic visit and bring something to read or listen to. You may also want to bring a friend or relative for support.
2. In the UK you should be attending a one-stop breast clinic / rapid diagnostic clinic. This is a type of clinic where you will get what is called a triple assessment: clinical examination, scans and biopsy (if needed) all during the same visit. The advantage of this type of model is that you will hopefully know what the diagnosis is before you leave.
3. So, the first thing that will happen is seeing the doctor where you will have a discussion about your symptoms. The doctor will take a detailed history of what your symptoms are, the duration, aggravating factors amongst others. You may also be questioned about your family history of breast cancer.
4. Your breasts will then be examined. You will be asked to get undressed from the top half. Both breasts, as well as armpits, will be examined. You should have a chaperone present and if not, you can request one.
5. If felt necessary, you will then have scans arranged for you. That will either be an ultrasound, mammogram or both. In the UK, you will not routinely have a mammogram unless a suspicious lesion/lump has been found on clinical examination or ultrasound scan. If you are over 40, and depending on your symptoms, you may have both ultrasound and mammogram.
6. If there is an abnormality that needs further investigating, then a biopsy will be performed. You will need to return a week later for these results.
7. Once you have had your imaging, you will see the doctor again where he/she will go through the results. If all is well then you will be discharged from the clinic with appropriate advice. As mentioned, if you have had a biopsy, then a follow-up appointment will be arranged.
You may also want to check out this blog post about what happens in a breast clinic and what a mammogram and ultrasound machine looks like.
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this podcast and website is not a substitute for seeking medical advice from a healthcare professional. Please do not delay in seeing a doctor for a breast problem, because of what you have read on this website or heard on this podcast.