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:

  • 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 and is very well tolerated with minimal discomfort.

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.


In the light of the current Covid-19 pandemic Rachel is giving longer clinic slots with more time for cleaning and less people in the dedicated waiting area. Please can you try to come alone or contact our breast care nurse ( Mrs Claire Mc Cormick) to make appropriate arrangements if you would like to be accompanied to your clinic appointment.


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