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Common signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer is something which can be treated completely provided it is picked up at its early stages. Mr Petros Charalampoudis, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at The Wellington Hospital Breast Unit discusses the importance of early detection.

It is very important that you remain breast-aware and prompt your GP or a breast specialist as soon as you notice any of the following signs and symptoms.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • a change in the size of shape of your breasts
  • a new lump or an area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast or feels different than usual
  • a change in your breasts skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (similar to the skin of an orange)
  • redness or rash on the skin of your breast or dryness and itchiness of your nipple
  • your nipple has become pulled in (inverted) or looks/feels different than usual
  • liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing (particularly blood or clear/yellowish fluid)
  • pain in your breast or your armpit that does not go away within a couple of weeks
  • a swelling or a sensation of ‘fullness’ in your armpit.

Referral from your GP to a specialist

It is important to remember about nine out of 10 women who are referred to a breast specialist by their GP will be reassured on the same day of their appointment with benign (non-cancer) results.

The breast specialist will ask you about the type and the duration of your symptoms and will note whether you have any relatives with breast or ovarian cancer. Also, the breast specialist will examine your breasts for any suspicious changes and you may have a scan (mammogram or a breast ultrasound or sometimes both).

A few women who attend a breast care unit may need to have some of their breast tissue sampled (a core biopsy) through a simple and relatively painless procedure.

We offer an exemplary one-stop service for all women who are referred with breast-related symptoms. This means you will have the opportunity to discuss your symptoms in detail with a breast specialist, have your scans and a possible biopsy, all at the same appointment at the same location. In all cases the breast specialist will see you again on the day following your scans and, if a biopsy is required, the results will be provided to you within two days.

To book an appointment with Mr Petros Charalampoudis at The Wellington Hospital call 020 3733 4736.