Breast health awareness – booking assessments and checkups

Everyday healthcare practitioners are spreading awareness about checking your breast health. You should pay attention to your breasts and note any sudden changes or symptoms you may have. 

Most of the time, it’s nothing serious and symptoms are usually benign. Although if you experience any unusual breast symptoms or have any concerns regarding your breast’s health, you should book in for an assessment with an expert breast specialist, or with your GP. 

Why should I get a breast assessment? 

You should arrange for a breast assessment if you notice any sudden breast symptoms are cause for concern. Breast symptoms that are worth checking out, include: 

  • Changes within the breast’s texture, e.g.) thickening of the breast’s tissue.
  • Changes to the breast’s skin, e.g.) dimpling
  • Sudden changes to the breast’s size and shape.
  • A lump found within the breast or armpit. 
  • Nipple changes, e.g.) an inverted or retracted nipple.
  • Redness of flaky skin around the nipple area. 
  • Discharge or blood coming from the nipple, not breast milk. 
  • Breast or armpit pain.
  • Swelling in your armpit or swelling near your collarbone.

For men in particular, these breast symptoms are worth checking out: 

  • Lumps found within the armpit. 
  • Breast or chest swelling.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is very unlikely that they represent a worrying change such as cancer, but nonetheless, they still need to be reviewed by either your GP or an expert breast surgeon. 

What happens in a breast health assessment? 

During a breast health assessment, an expert breast surgeon or GP will take note of your breast symptoms and perform a breast examination. The process involves: 

  1. A discussion surrounding your breast symptoms, when they first appeared etc. 
  2. A physical armpit and breast examination.
  3. Screening for the need of a genetic risk assessment.

Following the initial breast examination, the breast examiner will give you a clear explanation of the assessment results. Further investigation may be required following this assessment which includes:

  • A breast ultrasound 
  • A breast mammogram
  • A core biopsy

The aim of a breast assessment is to provide patients with direct access to an expert breast specialist, who can give a proper diagnosis and explanation to each individual case. If a cancer is diagnosed, then the options for treatment will be discussed and explained. 

Breast health awareness 2
Doctor and patient making a mammography

Most breast symptoms are either the result of a normal variation in the breast’s tissues or a result of hormonal conditions that are collectively called benign breast disease. It is unlikely that it is breast cancer, but still get checked for that peace of mind. 

Why should I get a breast health check-up?

Some people are more susceptible to developing breast cancer than others, either due to gene variations or a family history of the disease. 

Genomic medicine (using a person’s DNA to inform about disease risk) allows us to test individuals who may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer so that we can help advise them on management techniques and treatment options. 

I have a family history of breast cancer and I want to get checked.

Some specific rare gene defects can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer. A strong family history of breast cancer makes it a little more likely that these genes are present and you may want to get screened for having these genes. 

Invitae BRCA STAT Panel 

A breast specialist could have access to perform genetic testing such as an Invitae BRCA STAT Panel in order to detect the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA 2 genes within an individual. If either is detected, a breast surgery consultant will discuss what this means and how it can be managed.

This testing is also useful for women who have had breast cancer and want to know if they are at extra risk of developing breast cancer in their other breast.

Can I get a test to determine my chances of developing breast cancer? 

Many women may worry about their chances of developing breast cancer in their life. Utilising genomic medicine, may have access to an AnteBC Test to determine a score that outlines each individual’s risk of developing breast cancer in the next ten years, compared to the average woman of their age in the population.

AnteBC Test

This AnteBC Test is recommended for women between the ages of 30 and 75. It is suitable for women who do not have a family history of breast cancer but wish to know their risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their life. 

The determined score does not definitively indicate whether the person will experience breast cancer in their life, it only predicts their chances of developing it. This test also cannot  be used to indicate whether relatives are at increased risk or if the score is hereditary. 

Your Breast surgeon could use a combination of the AnteBC Test and the Invitae BRCA STAT Panel in order to give a more complete picture of your breast health and future risks. 

Breast health awareness

Whether you are concerned about new breast symptoms that have developed, a family history of breast cancer or present genes, it is always a good idea to remain conscious of your breast’s health. 
If you would like to schedule an appointment or check-up to determine your breast’s health, you can do so here.


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Breast surgery as any surgery is not without risk. These risks and the relative chance of them happening for you will differ dependent on the type of surgery you have and also personal risk factors. Risks of breast surgery can be early risks related to the surgery itself or longer term risks such as cosmetic changes related to ageing.

Infection and poor wound healing are a risk in all breast procedures whether it is for breast cancer or for cosmetic reasons. Cosmetic surgery has a lower risk of this but it is increased if you are a smoker or have other medical problems which may effect healing such as diabetes. Every breast procedure will have a long list of possible risks or complications however most of them can be quite rare.

Your surgeon will be able to guide you through the individual risks for your chosen procedure explaining about likelihood of occurrence and what that could mean for you if the complication occurs.

This can be a difficult question to answer. In the cosmetic setting your surgeon will listen to you about what you wish to achieve focusing on shape and volume. They will then examine and assess your chest frame to determine what range of implants are suitable for you to compliment your body shape without risk of long term poor cosmetic results.

Implants vary by brand, surface texture, volume and projection. The choices available within each of these categories can be extensive. The right implant for you will be based on a collaborative discussion between you and your surgeon to select the right implant, volume, shape and projection to be the best fit to meet your cosmetic needs.

Same day cosmetic surgery is generally very safe. Your surgeon will discuss with you specific risks which will be related to the surgery that is to be undertaken and the individual risks that may be more specific to you. This can often be related to any other medical conditions you have or if you are a smoker.

Following surgery you are observed for 2-4 hours afterwards to ensure you have recovered from the anaesthetic and there are no immediate post operative complications. If you are then deemed fit to be discharged you will be able to leave with further post operative instructions to guide you at home and also contact details should you experience any problems at home and need further medical advice. You will be required to have a responsible adult stay with you for the first night after surgery to be eligible to be discharged on the same day of your surgery.

The purpose of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is different. Cosmetic surgery has a goal of improving the cosmetic appearance by complimenting and modifying the shape and/or size of your natural breasts. Reconstructive surgery is primarily considered for patients who may require or have a mastectomy(removal of all breast tissue). This can be for a number of reasons but primarily is for the treatment of breast cancer or risk reduction if patients have a gene defect making them much more at risk of developing breast cancer. Reconstructive surgery involves the recreating of a breast mound and shape. The cosmetic goals in reconstructive surgery can be quite different to cosmetic breast surgery due to the effects of cancer treatments and the loss of all breast tissue often preventing an optimal natural appearance to be achieved.

Both types of surgery can use implants and fat grafting but reconstructive surgery can also be undertaken by moving your own tissue from another area to recreate the breast.

If you are experiencing a breast symptom such as a new lump, skin or nipple change, nipple discharge, breast shape change, armpit lumps or breast/chest swelling in men then this clinic appointment will aim to address these and other breast symptoms. I will undertake a detailed assessment of the symptoms, screen for the need for genetic risk assessment and examine you. Based on this I will give you a clear explanation of that assessment.

I will inform you as to any diagnosis reached or the need for any imaging, which could be a breast ultrasound or mammogram to help reach that diagnosis. This may also be complimented by a tissue biopsy to confirm any diagnosis. Following any diagnosis I will discuss with you a plan of treatment or reassurance as necessary.

Breast symptoms are extremely common and can range from noticing a difference in the appearance or texture of your breasts to new lumps, nipple changes and breast pain. All breast symptoms should be reviewed by either your GP or a breast surgeon. However this does not mean to say that your symptom is likely to represent a worrying change such as cancer.

MOST breast symptoms are either the result of a normal variation in the tissues that comprise your breast or to a family of conditions that are collectively called benign breast disease. In my breast reassurance clinic I will be able to assess you and provide a diagnosis and explanation for your symptoms or if necessary, further assess the symptoms if a cancer is suspected. It is much more likely your breast symptoms are not due to breast cancer but please do be assessed for any new symptoms.

Choosing to have breast augmentation is a very personal decision. Your surgeon should guide you through this process. By doing this they should help you to decide firstly whether it is right for you and then guide you through your vision for the final look and how to achieve it. I always aim to really understand what the final desired appearance is wanted right up to the smallest detail. We discuss this based on the shape including cleavage, appearance in and out of clothes and then also volume. Following this discussion to achieve your look we may also discuss performing a small uplift as well as the use of implants.

I will always be honest about what can be expected and whether your vision of the final look is possible and responsible to achieve whilst respecting your body shape and frame. A library of my work will also be available for you to view. Beyond this it is also crucial that your surgeon discusses with you the potential risks of the surgery which should include short term and what may happen in the long term. With this entire discussion you will develop a rapport and relationship with your surgeon. You can then decide if that surgeon is the right one for you or not.

Breast augmentation surgery can be undertaken as a day case procedure. Hence you can go home the same day once you have had a period of observation after surgery. You will be fitted with a surgical bra and a binder which can be purchased by yourself or provided at the hospital. The binder provides gentle pressure from above the implants ensuring they remain in the optimal position whilst healing occurs. Please aim for about 4-6 weeks of recovery before getting back to anything strenuous such as the gym or long runs. If returning to work this can be done after 1-2 weeks but ensure you only undertake light manual labour activities.

I will ask you to wear the surgical bra as much each day and night as possible for 6 weeks to provide the best cosmetic result. Upon review during your recovery I will inform you as to when to remove the binder.



Breast Reassurance

Breast symptom assessment utilising the national standard of triple assessment (clinical hist...

Breast Cancer Care

Treatment of breast cancer including a full range of oncoplastic and breast reconstruction techniques.

Cosmetic Breast Surgery

Surgery to change the appearance of your breasts adjusting volume, shape and cleavage.