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What to do if you find something unusual

Noticed an unusual change in your breasts? No need to panic. Our bodies change, and if you’ve noticed a change, it’s a good sign that you know your body! There are lots of reasons why you might have changes to your breasts. Most changes are natural and harmless. 9 out of 10 people who are referred to the breast clinic are not given a cancer diagnosis. However, if you are concerned about a change to your breasts, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

"If you're concerned about a change, make a doctor's appointment as soon as possible. There's no need to panic or feel embarrassed."
Dr. Punam Krishan

What To Expect When You Contact Your Doctor

Your doctor will probably want to examine your breast tissue, which might include the area under your armpits and up to your collarbone too. You might find it helpful to wear loose clothing or a separate top and bottoms.

It can feel embarrassing to talk to your doctor about your breasts, but they have seen it all before! Here are our tips for your doctor appointment:

  • If you would prefer a female doctor, you can request this when you book the appointment. Equally, you can ask to see a male doctor if you prefer.
  • Ask a family member or a friend to be with you for support.
  • Write down any questions for your doctor beforehand.
  • Write down when you first spotted the symptoms, to tell the doctor.
  • If you have periods, make a note of when your last one was, as the doctor might ask.
  • Try to find out if you have any family history of breast cancer, as the doctor might ask you about that too.

What it means if you’re referred to the breast clinic

If your doctor decides to refer you to the breast clinic, they can do so with an urgent or non-urgent referral. Urgent referrals are also called Two Week Wait referrals, because your appointment at the breast clinic will be within 2 weeks. Non-urgent referrals can take between 4-6 weeks. Your doctor might decide to refer you with a Two Week Wait referral, to make sure you are seen quickly. This does not mean your doctor thinks you have breast cancer.

a female doctor speaks to a young woman and child
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