Miss Bright-Thomas offers a one-stop breast clinic involving three different tests, known as triple assessment, to help her make a diagnosis. These tests are:
TRIPLE ASSESSMENT AT THE ONE-STOP BREAST CLINIC
• a breast examination
• a mammogram (breast x-ray) and/or an ultrasound scan (which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image)
• a fine needle aspiration (FNA) or a needle core biopsy
You will be offered a specialist breast care nurse to support you in the clinic and to act as a chaperone and a point of contact afterwards for any questions or concerns.
If you’re a woman under 40, you’re more likely to have an ultrasound scan than a mammogram. This is because younger women’s breast tissue can be dense which can make the x-ray image in a mammogram harder to interpret. If you are over 40 you are likely to have both a mammogram and an ultrasound scan.
A fine needle aspiration uses a fine needle and syringe to take a sample of cells to be analysed under a microscope.
A core biopsy uses a hollow needle to take a small sample of breast tissue for analysis under a microscope. Several tissue samples may be taken at the same time. This procedure will be done using a local anaesthetic.
The results of these tests will be available and communicated to you within a few days after a full multidisciplinary team discussion with the radiologists (Xray doctors) and pathologists. Using this “triple assessment” in a one stop breast clinic gives a very high sensitivity (>98%) for detecting underlying breast cancers and is the recognised gold standard in breast assessment. Most benign (non cancerous) breast problems can be diagnosed and a treatment plan suggested or carried out on the first visit. Less than 10% of women will need to return to the clinic.