Importance of being breast aware

Mr Kadappa Kolar'Consultant Surgeon/ Lead Clinician Breast'Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital
Mr Kadappa Kolar'Consultant Surgeon/ Lead Clinician Breast'Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital

October is breast cancer awareness month, and it is just over a year ago that the newly-modernised Diana, Princess of Wales Mammography Unit at Bassetlaw Hospital reopened its doors to patients, following the generous contributions from the public Breastcare Appeal of £350,000 towards the £1.2million development.

Affectionately known as the Breastcare Unit, we provide a regular routine screening service to local women between the ages of 50-70. We are starting to expand this age range to include all women between the ages of 47-73, in line with the National Breast Screening programme. We invite women to have a three-yearly mammogram (a breast x-ray) to detect any early cancer or pre-cancerous problems, which are too small to notice yourself. Once detected, we can treat these problems quickly, resulting in excellent outcomes. Since opening, we have screened around 5,500 women and expect to screen 18,000 women over a three-year period.

We also see ladies who are referred by their GP with a problem to our clinics. These clinics not only detect early breast problems but also help to support and reassure worried women.

We use the triple assessment protocol, which consists of a clinical examination, a mammogram, and/or ultrasound and needle tests if necessary. Please remember that not all breast problems turn out to be cancer, some are benign (not cancer). It’s best just to make sure and that’s why we provide a triple assessment so that women get the best possible care.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women all over the world and there is strong evidence that early detection and early treatment is improving the survival rate. In Bassetlaw, we have found that although the number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed is the same as in other parts of the country, the survival rate one year on is lower. We think this is probably due to women waiting too long to see their GP if there is a change in their breast. This is why it’s important to be breast aware.

If you notice any changes in your breasts please see your GP immediately.