Mr Charalampoudis will inspect your breasts and will look for any changes on either side. He will also perform a full clinical examination and he will teach you how to self-examine every month. Following clinical examination, you will have mammography if you are over 35 to 40 years of age accompanied by a gel ultrasound scan of the area or lump of concern. You may be required to undergo biopsy of the breast. A core biopsy is performed by numbing the skin with local anaesthetic and obtaining some tissue from the breast gland which is sent for tests in the laboratory.
Mr Charalampoudis works only with top private breast clinics at the heart of London, where all imaging studies are completed at one appointment during your visit and the results of the biopsy take about 48 to 72 hours to process.
Mammography uses low dose x-rays to take a detailed snapshot of your breast tissue. Mammography is used to detect any breast changes including benign breast change or a breast cancer that can be too small to be possibly felt as a palpable lump. Screening mammography is carried out in women who may not have any signs or symptoms of breast disease.
While screening mammography is routinely administered to detect breast cancer in women who may not have any apparent symptoms such as breast lumps, skin changes of the breast nipple discharge large lymph nodes, a diagnostic mammogram is usually recommended to detect any suspicious results found on a screening mammogram or after a visit to the breast clinic that has alerted the physician to check the breast tissue.
Women usually should begin having screening mammography yearly at the age of 40 or earlier if they have a significant family history of breast cancer. Although the NHS offers mammography in women aged 50 to 70, there is evidence to suggest that mammography can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer and is effective in women less than 50 and more than 70 years of age.
You should not be afraid of mammography. It is a quick procedure that takes about 20 minutes to do and discomfort is usually minimal for most women. Mammography has been proven to be safe as there is only a very tiny amount of radiation exposure from it.
During your visit to the breast clinic you are mostly likely to receive a breast ultrasound to rule out any sinister breast conditions. Ultrasound is a safe and painless procedure. It produces pictures of the inside of your breast using sound waves. It is also called a gel scan of the breast. It does not involve any radiation.
During an ultrasound the Consultant Radiologist will use a special probe and through the gel he will send some high frequency sound waves. This way the ultrasound will collect information about the breast tissue underneath your skin. Sometimes we may require you to have a biopsy under ultrasound guidance in order to obtain some tissue and make a diagnosis. During a breast ultrasound the Consultant Radiologist may also use some Doppler techniques in order to evaluate the blood flow or lack of it in a breast lump, which will help establish whether the lump is cancerous or not.