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Breast cancer - rapid access clinics (symptomatic)

Our rapid access breast clinics are available for women who are concerned about changes to their breasts and require investigation.

A breast cancer rapid access clinic appointment with a doctor examining a scan on a screen
We have dedicated rapid access breast clinics across Circle Health hospitals throughout the UK. The clinics are available for women who are concerned about changes to their breasts and require investigation. The clinics are consultant led, offering patients an expert opinion and rapid diagnosis.

Checking your breasts

Changes in your breast can be normal and they’re usually signs of development or ageing. However, if you are worried about any changes, you should let your doctor know.

We recommend that you check your breasts a few days after your period, as normal lumps can occur in your breasts during your monthly menstrual cycle.

When you check your breasts, you should look and feel for lumps or swellings, and if one breast feels different to the other.

Other signs to look out for include:

  • skin irritation or dimpling
  • nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  • redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
  • discharge from your nipple.

If you do notice anything unusual about your breasts, it’s important you talk to your doctor as soon as possible. They can refer you to one of our specialist rapid access breast clinics if you need further investigations.

If you’re worried about changes in your breast, you can ask for a GP referral to speak with one of our consultant breast surgeons. They will then decide which investigations you should have.

What happens during the clinic?

Your GP will refer you to a specialist breast consultant for an initial consultation. During the consultation your consultant will examine your breasts and will discuss the symptoms with you. The consultant will then arrange imaging investigations if required.

The most common imaging investigation for breast cancer is a mammogram. You may also have an ultrasound as well as or instead of a mammogram (if a mammogram is not suitable). Both imaging investigations are performed by a consultant breast radiologist. The imaging results will determine whether further investigations are required. This may include a fine needle aspiration, where a small needle is inserted into the cavity and fluid is taken. Or a biopsy, where a small needle is inserted into the cavity and a small piece is removed for microscopic investigation by a pathologist.

Your consultant will deliver your biopsy results as soon as possible to ensure a fast diagnosis.

During the clinic, a breast care specialist nurse will be available for support and advice if you would like a chat or have any questions.

Bupa breast care accreditation

Over 30 of our hospitals have been awarded Bupa accreditation for our breast cancer care which includes our screening and diagnostics clinics. This provides re-assurance that you’ll receive high quality care and an expert diagnosis.

Payment options

You have two options to pay for your treatment – your costs may be covered by your private medical insurance, or you can pay for yourself. Check with your private medical insurer to see if your diagnostic costs are covered under your medical insurance policy.

If you are paying for your own treatment, the cost of the procedure will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the procedure.

For further information or to book a consultation or treatment, please get in touch with our cancer enquiries team: Call us on 0800 157 7747.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in April 2022. Next review due April 2025.

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