What we do
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has an established Breast Service. There are four consultant surgeons, three consultant radiologists and a consultant mammographer who are all specialists in breast diseases.
They are supported by an experienced team of specialist pathologists, breast care nurses, radiographers, advanced nurse practitioner, nursing and medical staff.
We provide a full range of services for the investigation and treatment of breast problems. This includes symptomatic problems, and interventions for women who have attended the NHS Breast Screening Service.
Our clinics generally run every weekday morning (excluding bank holidays) and everyone is offered an appointment within 2 weeks of referral. In this clinic, problems that we typically see and assess are breast lumps, changes in breast shape, nipple discharge and sometimes breast pain if the GP thinks further assessment is required. We also offer separate oncoplastic clinics where we see women to assess for breast reconstruction after cancer and where we also see women who wish to consider breast reduction (but who have met pre-determined criteria for referral)
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is also home to the East Lancashire Breast Screening Service which is part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme. It provides free breast screening every three years for all women within the eligible age range.
One Stop Clinics
At ELHT we offer a one stop breast service to all patients referred with new breast problems. Once referred by your GP we will offer you an appointment within 2 weeks.
At the breast one stop clinic you will have a consultation with a Breast Consultant or a member of their team. The Doctor or Nurse you see will ask you some questions about your past medical history, your current problems, and undertake a physical examination.
You may also be offered a radiological examination with mammogram or ultrasound and if a biopsy is required this will all happen on the same day.
You will get the results of your scans on the same day but if biopsies are taken you may be asked to come back for the results on another day.
Review clinics are for patients who are already known to the service.
These are for patients who are awaiting results and for those who have been treated previously and require further advice or assessment.
We run two reconstruction clinics each week at Pendle Hospital for patients who wish to consider reconstruction surgery following previous surgery for breast cancer. Where approval has been granted by commissioners, we also offer breast reduction and treatment for gynaecomastia.
Following breast cancer treatment women may be left with an absent breast, a mis- shapen breast with a defect of a marked asymmetry. We offer corrective surgery for these conditions. The precise type of surgery offered depends on the nature of the problem, the fitness of the patient, the effects of previous treatment (such as radiotherapy) and the requirements of the patient with a view to what they hope to achieve as their final outcome and what they can tolerate in terms of additional scars.
Locally we can offer reconstructions with tissue expanders and implant based procedures, immediate reconstruction using implants and acellular dermal matrix and pedicled autologous flaps (moving skin, fat and muscle from the back of the tummy but keeping it attached by its blood supply). We are also developing lipomodelling (using the fat harvested from liposuction to fill in defects in the breast or add volume to a previous muscle flap).
We can offer surgery to improve breast symmetry by either reducing a large breast or augmenting a small breast with an implant although discussion with a surgeon is required to determine which procedures are most likely to produce the desired outcome.
We have good links with plastic surgeons outside our unit, and where a woman wishes to have a ‘free flap’ (tissue cut completely free from its origin and ‘plumbed in’ to the new site) we refer them onto our specialist plastic surgeons for assessment for this.
Family History Clinics
We offer a risk assessment service for people who have a family history of breast cancer.
The clinics are run by our Breast Care Nursing team and are available on choose and book. GP’s can use the NICE guidelines (clinical guideline 41) to determine whether a person has a significant family history.
This clinic was developed in conjunction with the regional genetics centre. Where a person is found to have a high risk family history they have the option of being referred on to the regional centre for further assessment and genetic testing, and to be entered into an appropriate screening programme.
We provide a weekly clinic for the fitting of breast prostheses for patients who have had previous surgery at the Trust.
Breast Care Nurse Specialists
The Breast Care Nursing Service aims to provide physical, psychological and social support for women who have, or fear they have breast cancer.The service is constantly monitoring patient feedback and the latest research to ensure the highest quality of service that meets the needs of its patients.
A Breast Care Nurse is a qualified nurse who has specialist training in breast care and who works as part of the breast care team based within the hospital.
They are skilled in advising you regarding breast screening, breast disease and treatment options and can provide you with practical information and support in all aspects of breast care.
They are able to provide continuing support to you, your partner and your family if you have, or fear you may have breast problems.
They will be able to put you in touch with local support groups and voluntary agencies.
They will be happy for you to contact them to discuss anything you feel is important to you and will treat anything you discuss as confidential.
How to find us
We provide daily one stop clinics at Burnley General Teaching Hospital for all patients referred to the breast service by their GP. These clinics are all in the morning. One clinic, (Tuesday am) is restricted to women under 40 and men.
At Pendle Community Hospital we have two reconstruction clinics per week for patients who have previously undergone breast surgery and would like to consider reconstruction.
Breast Care Nurses - 01282 804779
New appointments - 01282 803762
Review appointments - 01282 804497
Seroma Drainage – contact Breast and Gynaecology Ward on 01282 804014 / 803270
The National Breast Screening Programme is a population screening programme for well women and it is not aimed at women who already have symptoms.
If you have a breast symptom or are concerned about your breasts, you should contact your GP practice without delay. He or she will decide whether you need any tests or investigations. A mammogram will pick up most, but not all, breast problems and is one of a range of tests that may be required for women with breast symptoms.
Be breast aware
Breast awareness is about becoming familiar with your own breasts and how they change. It is important to know how your body normally looks and feels. Being breast aware is about knowing the usual shape and feel of your breasts and being able to recognise any changes.
Know what is normal for you
Know what changes to look and feel for
Look and feel
Report any changes to your GP without delay
Attend for routine breast screening, if you are over 50
There is no such thing as a standard breast and what is normal for one woman may not be for another. Your breasts will also look and feel different over time depending on the time of the month and your age. If you find any changes from what is normal for you go to your GP without delay.
You are not wasting anyone's time
It is important to know that most changes are not cancer. But, reassurance and advice will always help, and the sooner a possible cancer is reported, the more simple treatment is likely to be. Changes to look for:
- A change in size or shape
- A lump or thickening
- Puckering or skin dimpling
- Nipple becoming drawn or changing direction
- Bleeding or discharge from the nipple
- Rash on or around the nipple
- Sudden roughness of the skin
- Swelling under the armpit or around the collar bone
- Constant pain in one part of your breast or in your armpit
If you would like more information about breast symptoms you may find it helpful to visit the Breast Cancer Care website (www.breastcancercare.co.uk)