Finding a lump in your breast can be scary as we often associate them with breast cancer, even though Cancer Research UK shows that 90% of them will be benign (non cancerous). Even so, it's important to have lumps in your breast checked out. Surgery may be needed to remove breast lumps that don’t go away on their own or cysts that keep coming back. Sometimes your doctor could be concerned that they're cancerous or they could be benign but causing you pain or getting bigger.
The operation is known as a lumpectomy, and the lump is sent to a laboratory for examination.
Breast lumps are common among women. Although worrying to find as they can be a symptom of breast cancer, nine out of 10 are not cancerous, according to the charity Cancer Research UK. However you should get any unusual changes to your breasts checked by a doctor to make sure there is nothing to worry about.
A benign (non cancerous) lump might be a normal fatty lump, a cyst or a fibroadenoma which is a solid lump more common among younger women. If a lump is filled with fluid, it is known as a cyst. Surgery is needed to remove small breast lumps that don’t go away on their own or cysts that keep coming back. In some cases, a border of healthy tissue around the lump may also be removed. This is called wide local excision.
We have modern and immaculate hospitals and practice some of the latest diagnostic testing and medical treatments. We take an integrated approach so we can organise any other breast care that you may need during or after your investigations.
We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
Breast lump removal is performed under general anaesthesia, meaning you will be asleep and feel no pain. During the operation, your surgeon will make a small cut in your skin over or near the lump. He or she will then remove the lump.
In some cases, your surgeon may remove a small border of healthy tissue around the lump as well. This is called wide local excision. The healthy tissue may be examined to find out if the lump has been completely removed.
The operation usually takes approximately an hour.
Breast lump removal can be performed as a day case although, in some cases, you may need to stay overnight in hospital.
After the procedure, you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from the anaesthesia under close supervision.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
You will be given a contact phone number for the hospital in case you need any further advice. You may also be given a date for an out-patient appointment when the stitches will be removed. Dissolvable stitches will disappear on their own in time. Another appointment will be arranged with your surgeon or specialist breast care nurse to discuss the biopsy results. This will be as soon as the laboratory results are ready.
If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital.
You will need to take it easy and should expect to tire easily at first. Try to use the arm on the side of the operation to prevent it from getting stiff. You should be able to return to gentle activities the day after your operation.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
On rare occasions, complications following surgery can occur. If you have any pain in your breast or they feel hot and swollen – don’t hesitate to call us. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health.
We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your tests you can call us.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
We have excellent road links to the M1 and A1(M), and are five minutes from Harpenden train station.
COVID-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service at Spire Harpenden Hospital.