Breast Clinic - what to expect

Hi everyone
I have just joined up after reading this forum for a couple of weeks.
I found a lump in my left breast at the bottom a couple of weeks ago.
I have had breast implants in for 20 years so wanted to get checked at the GP.
Whilst there, the nurse said she could also feel that I had some thickening of the tissue towards the top of my right breast. She said the lump felt “cystular” and was mobile. I am so worried about the news I have something in my right breast as I didn’t notice and it didn’t feel any different to me.
I have my appointment at the breast clinic on Thursday and she told me I could be there for hours.
I am just wondering what to expect and what they’ll do.
For context I am 38 (almost 39) and have no family history.
Thank you

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Hi, I’m sorry to hear the nurse found something but it’s definitely best to get it checked out and it’s good they’ve referred you to the breast clinic.

I went to my GP as I’d found a lump and they referred my to the breast clinic. I am 36 and it was treated as an urgent referral so I was seen 2 weeks later. I was actually quite impressed with the set up as it was like a one stop shop.

Firstly I went in and seen the surgeon (who hosts the clinic). He asked me about the lump and felt it. He examined both breasts and checked my armpits too. He then got me to have a mammogram and I also then had an ultrasound of my breast and armpit to get a better look. I then seen him again and he done a biopsy of the lump to send it for testing. The results took 2 weeks to come back.

Unfortunately for me, they seen that it was most likely cancer from the mammogram and ultrasound and the surgeon told me there and then when I went back in to see him. I don’t know what I was expecting but didn’t expect to be told that quickly. I do think it’s good they review it so quickly though and can give you a good indication. It was all done within 2 hours for me. The biopsy was just to confirm really (and it’s something they may do but may not necessarily be needed for everyone) and they were able to give me the confirmation and grading of my cancer one week later then the full results 2 weeks later. There are different type of biopsies too with different types of needles etc. Here is a link you may find useful

P.S sorry to jump in as I know it was a nurses question but thought I’d let you know my experience!

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At mine I was initially seen and examined by a BCN . Then I had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound and then a biopsy . It was run very efficiently and the staff were lovely. After all of this was done I was called back to see the BCN who told me that they thought it was almost definitely a tiny cancer and it talked it over with me a bit more . The initial exam tests and waiting between then follow up discussion with the Nurse were a good 2 2 hours so think up to 3 hours . About 10 of us came in more or less together , then a few more but the vast majority left looking smiley and relieved . It was still lockdown at the time so I was contacted by phone a week later with my results by the BCN then the surgeon phoned later that day . I wish you well , waiting for appointments and results can be pretty horrible so reach out if you need to. Xx

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Hi chloeel85

Thanks for posting.

It’s understandable to worry when you have been referred to breast clinic with a breast change.

As @belle1 and @JoanneN say you will usually be examined by a breast surgeon or nurse practitioner before having breast imaging, which may be an ultrasound scan in the first instance. Do read the link that belle1 has included on what to expect at the breast clinic, as it has further information about the different tests you may have and why you may be at the clinic for several hours.

Although it’s not possible to say what may be causing the thickening in your right breast, breast changes can happen for many reasons. They may be due to hormonal changes as part of your monthly cycle (if you are still having periods) or due to benign conditions (not cancer). You mention that you have had breast implants for 20 years, so they may want to check that they aren’t causing the breast change that the nurse has felt.

You may be reassured to read that the vast majority of people who are referred to a breast clinic don’t have breast cancer.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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