Breast Cancer Awareness Q&A with Simon Pain

16 October 2017

What breast care advice would you give to women?

I would advise checking your breasts regularly so you get used to their normal shape and feel. The best way to do this is whilst you are washing with a soapy hand. Signs to look out for are:

  • lump or area of thickened tissue
  • lump or swelling in either armpit
  • change in size of the breasts
  • change in appearance of your nipple
  • discharge from your nipple
  • dimpling of the skin around the breast
  • rash on or around the nipple.

Discomfort and aching alone in the breast isn’t a worrying sign.

What would be your advice to anyone who is concerned about their breasts?

I would recommend booking an appointment with their GP if they are concerned about any changes. If you are pre-menopausal though, it may be worth waiting until after your next period to see if the change persists, as pre-menopausal women are much more prone to changes in their breasts during their periods than those who have been through the menopause, where their periods have stopped. If they are still concerned after this and the change to their breast remains, then see your GP.

Is there a common age group of women you see in your clinic?

Cases of breast cancer do increase with age but although cases in women under the age of 40 are unusual, any age group is susceptible. Therefore it’s really important for women of all ages to get to know their breasts and recognise any changes early.

What technology do women attending your clinic at Spire Norwich Hospital have access to?

We are really fortunate to have a state-of-the-art digital mammography, which is a diagnostic and screening tool using low-energy x-rays to examine the whole breast area. We also have ultrasound facilities which are used to target a more specific area of the breast. Both the mammography and ultrasound are performed by expert radiologists under the care of an experienced consultant.

What should women expect during a breast screening appointment at Spire Norwich Hospital?

Spire Norwich Hospital prides itself on consultant-led care, therefore you will be seen by a consultant who specialises in breast care and if you require further treatment or tests, you will see the same consultant throughout your care. During your appointment the consultant will take a full medical history and discuss any family history of breast cancer. If a mammogram or ultrasound is required these are performed on the same visit, and are followed up straight away with the consultant who will discuss the results with you. It’s this quick turnaround that is so appealing to women who are worried, and want results and often peace of mind quickly.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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