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No-one knows what causes women to develop breast cancer. However, if you have a history of breast cancer in your family it is important that you tell your GP about this so they can decide whether you may be at increased risk. If you have a familial history of breast cancer, your GP may choose to refer you for routine, possibly regular, breast assessment and this can be carried out privately at our Rapid Access Breast Care Clinic at Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh.
Incidence of breast cancer increases with age, with over 80% occurring in post-menopausal women over the age of 50 (Cancer Research UK, 2011). It is now the most common cancer in the UK and women typically have a one in eight lifetime risk of contracting it. Although incidence is high, survival rates are at their highest for over 40 years and increase even further when breast cancer is caught early.
If you find anything unusual or have any concerns regarding your breast health, you should consult your GP in the first instance to find out more information. Typical symptoms include:
In these instances, report anything that looks or feels different to your GP or breast health nurse as soon as possible. If they decide that you should be referred for further investigation, whether you have private medical insurance or not, you can choose to be referred privately to Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh.
Consultants are often asked about HRT and whether this increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Cancer Research states that women undergoing HRT have a 66% increased risk of contracting breast cancer (table 4.3 'relative risk of invasive breast cancer in relation to recency and type of HRT used', Cancer Research UK website, 2011). The risk of breast cancer returns to normal about five years after stopping HRT.
Private treatment options for breast cancer at Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh can include one or a combination programme of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery.
All decisions and patient treatment pathways at Spire Murrayfield Hospital are discussed and established by our multidisciplinary team of experts, which includes consultant breast surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, nurses, pathologists, mammographers and counsellors. This team identify the most appropriate course of treatment to meet our patient’s individual clinical needs in accordance with the latest South East Scotland Cancer Network (SCAN) guidelines.
Many women who attend this clinic will find that there’s nothing wrong; in fact, 80-85% of breast lumps are noncancerous (www.everydayhealth.com) and do not require treatment of any kind.
However, if cancer is detected, because early diagnosis greatly increases the chance of successful treatment and outcome, our clinic is designed to identify and plan what treatment you need so that it can be started as soon as possible.
Our private consultant-led rapid access breast clinic takes place on Thursday evenings. Appointments are also available on Tuesday evenings. During this comprehensive appointment patients will have a consultation with a consultant breast surgeon who will review the patient’s medical history. A physical examination may be performed and, should further examination be required, procedures such as biopsy, ultra-sound or mammogram can be carried out the same evening. Patients require a referral from their GP to attend this consultant-led clinic.
During everyday activities such as showering, bathing and dressing you can get used to how your breasts normally look and feel. Women are advised to self-check throughout the month to familiarise themselves with the look and feel of their breasts at all times. Knowing what is normal for you means you can better identify if something changes. Follow the five point breast awareness code: