• Overview

Or call us on

020 3386 9000
Overall rating

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with around 55 900 new cases each year (CRUK). 1in 7 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime (Breast Cancer Now). It commonly affects women over 50, however, women under 50 are being diagnosed too. Breast cancer is rare in men, but it affects approximately 350 men a year and accounts for 1 in 100 cases (CRUK).

What is breast cancer?

The breast is made up of ducts that carry milk to the nipple; lobules - glands which produce milk, fat, areola, nipple and lymph nodes.  Breast cancer develops when cells in the breast begin to grow in an abnormal and uncontrolled way. As these cells grow, they begin to form a tumour. Breast cancer tumours can be felt (palpable) such as a lump and it can also be non-palpable (cannot be felt). There are many different types of breast cancer but the most common is in the milk ducts also known as Ductal cancer. It is important to know which type of breast cancer you have as this has an impact on the treatment given.

Risk factors for breast cancer include;

  • Age - 50 years and older
  • Early start of periods and late menopause after 55
  • Genetic mutations from inherited genes BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Family history of breast or ovarian history from mother, sister or daughter
  • Having dense breasts

Lifestyle risk factors

  • Drinking alcohol can increase your risk.
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Being inactive

Taking some form of Hormone Replacement? if you are taking these, please do not stop but discuss this with your doctor and or consultant who will advise accordingly.

Breast Awareness

Being breast aware is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What does it mean? Be aware of how your breasts look like, how they feel and be familiar with what’s your normal. To watch a step by step guide watch the video Touch, Look, Feel by Breast Cancer Now. When it comes to cancer, early diagnosis leads to better outcomes, if you notice a change in the appearance, a lump, swelling or any other discomfort to your breast, get it checked out. It’s easy to check for any changes as you are getting dressed or in the shower. You should feel all parts of your breast and up into your armpit.

Other signs include:

  • A change in size, shape or feel of your breast
  • Skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin
  • Changes in the position of the nipple
  • New lump or thickening in your breast
  • A swelling under the armpit or around the collar bone
  • Constant pain in the breast or your armpit
  • Unexplained fatigue

If you find a lump, it is not always cancerous, it maybe a cyst or fibroadenoma but please get your doctor to check it. Breast pain is very common and usually may stop after a while. It is not normally cancerous but see your doctor and they will offer you the appropriate advice and or tests.

What to expect

Most breast symptoms that many women report are benign (not cancer causing). These include breast pain which may be triggered by incorrect fitting bra – get your bra size professionally measured. Pain can also be cyclical noticed at or around the time of your period and breasts may be tender. A lump does not always mean its breast cancer it could be a noncancerous cause such as cysts or fibroadenomas.

Breast screening

Breast screening is designed to find cancers while they are very small and before they can be felt by you or your doctor. This includes having a Mammogram and an Ultrasound. You can self refer for breast screening if you are over 40, have no symptoms and have not had a mammogram within the last 12months.  Visit our breast screening and awareness page to find

out more.

One-stop breast clinic in London

Our one-stop breast clinic lies in the City of London on the grounds of London’s most famous and oldest hospital, St Bartholomews. We offer you rapid access to a consultation with our expert breast consultants as well as any diagnostic tests or scans that may be required. All this will be done in the same unit, on the same day ensuring a seamless and high-quality service at your convenience. Your results will be given on the same day for mammograms and ultrasounds scans. If you have a biopsy (removal of a sample of breast cells for testing), most results will be available within 72 hours although this can be longer at times, and we will keep you informed of this. You will be seen in clinic with your results and any questions or concerns you may have will be addressed.

Breast Cancer Treatments

Most cases turn out to be non-cancerous {benign} but some do turn out to be cancers {malignant}. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, what can you expect?  You will have a dedicated breast surgeon who will lead and facilitate your care alongside a team of specialists. This team known as the Multi Disciplinary Team {MDT} a group of different cancer specialists, meets regularly to discuss and review all cancer cases ensuring you receive best care. Your specialist team will  include a Clinical Nurse Specialist {CNS} who will guide and support you throughout your journey and you will have direct access to.

Treatments for breast cancer vary and may include all or some of the following:  

Surgery - removal the tumour, by a specialist breast consultant. This can be before chemotherapy or after. Your specialist team will discuss with you in detail which type of your surgery you will need.

Chemotherapy – destroys cancer cells by using a combination of anti cancer drugs. This can be before or after surgery. This will be discussed with you in detail prior to your treatment by your Medical Oncology consultant and Clinical Nurse Specialist. The treatment will be delivered in our Chemo Day Unit located on the 4th floor of our Outpatient building and you will be nursed by specially trained chemotherapy nurses.

Endocrine or Hormone Therapy – treatment which aims to stop the effect of oestrogen on the breast cancer cells. You will have Endocrine therapy if your breast cancer feeds on the hormone oestrogen to help it grow.

Targeted Therapy – drugs which block the growth and spread of cancer. This will depend on your HER2 status. HER2 is a growth-promoting protein on the outside of all breast cells. This will be explained in detail to you.

Radiotherapy* – is a treatment used to destroy cancer cells in an area where it is given. It uses high-energy x-rays.

*These treatments will be arranged by your consultant at St Bartholomew’s NHS Trust, via a private patient package.

Why Choose us?
Here at Nuffield Hospital at St Bart’s we have regular breast clinics which you can access easily in the City of London. The team includes highly experienced breast surgeons, medical oncologists (give chemotherapy) clinical oncologists (give radiotherapy), radiologists, pathologists, clinical nurse specialists, mammographers; all who are extremely knowledgeable about breast conditions, treatment and care. As a team we will guide and support you at every stage of investigation, treatment and care; ensuring you are involved and informed every step of the way.

Maggie's London St Barts Centre - Cancer support
We also have a Maggie’s on the grounds of St Barts Hospital. Maggie’s run a drop-in centre and they provide a variety of supportive services including emotional and psychological support, practical advice around nutrition, benefits and general information for those with cancer and their carers.

Find out more about Breast oncology

Breast oncology consultants at Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital

Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital

38 Giltspur Street, London, EC1A 7BS

020 3386 9000

There are several bus stops within walking distance of the hospital. The closest rail and tube stations are City Thameslink - 5 min walk, Barbican - 5 min walk, Elizabeth line at Farringdon - 3 min walk. Car parking is available in Smithfield Car Park nearby.

Hospital switchboard 020 3386 9000
General enquiries 0300 131 1433
Outpatients enquiries 0300 131 1432
Physiotherapy enquiries 020 3386 9002
Payments enquiries 0330 460 0099

Ways to pay

Nuffield Health promise

Our prices are all-inclusive. We will equal any comparable price. There are no time limits on your aftercare.

Paying for yourself

There are no hidden costs in our treatment prices. The price you see is the price you pay.

Find out more

Personal medical loan

Spread the cost of your treatment with a 6, 10 or 12 month 0% personal medical loan.

Find out more

Medical insurance

We work with you and your insurance provider to get you the treatment you need quickly

Find out more