What is a One Stop Breast Clinic?
A ‘One Stop Breast Clinic’ is one in which patients with any concerning breast symptoms, such as a lump, asymmetry, breast pain, nipple discharge, or skin changes can be assessed in an outpatient clinic for an immediate and accurate diagnosis in a matter of hours. This approach to breast cancer diagnosis aims to provide convenience and reassurance to women. Often what stops women seeking a diagnosis for a suspected breast symptom is both the fear of the diagnosis of breast cancer, as well as the thought of having a lengthy waiting time to find out the test results.
What happens at a One Stop Breast Clinic?
Breast screening at a One Stop Breast Clinic involves a triple assessment, which includes:
- Being seen by a specialist breast surgeon who does a clinical assessment, checking medical history, age of the patient, and a physical examination.
- Being seen by a consultant breast radiologist who will perform a mammogram (for those aged 40+) and an ultrasound scan.
- A pathological assessment is made by a radiologist who obtains a biopsy using image-guided techniques.
It is thought that when all three forms of assessment are used, the accuracy rate of diagnosis is more than 95%.
Following triple assessment, a symptom such as a breast lump can be identified as being either benign or malignant. If such a symptom is found to be benign, then the patient will not generally require further treatment.
If, however, malignancy is found, these results are normally made available within 2-5 working days. The patient will be informed and a personalised treatment plan will be made.
What are the benefits of a One Stop Breast Clinic?
The key benefits of taking the One Stop approach for breast cancer diagnosis are the following:
- Quick access to appointments
- Various clinic locations across the country
- Being seen by experienced breast cancer specialists
- Reduced diagnosis time, meaning treatment can commence as soon as possible.