• breast abscess
  • suspected breast cancer

Most breast lumps (90%) are not cancerous, but it's always best to have them checked by your doctor. You should see your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples 
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • a rash on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple

Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

If you’re referred to us by your GP, you’ll be invited to an assessment with one of our specialists. During the appointment we’ll discuss your medical history and you may have a:

  • breast examination
  • breast X-ray (mammogram) or ultrasound
  • biopsy – where a needle is inserted into the lump to remove cells for testing

You may be told your results on the same day, although biopsy results take longer. As soon as we get your results, you’ll be invited for another appointment. If you want to bring someone with you to this appointment, please do so. It may be useful to bring a notepad and pen to write down any information you want to remember later.

During your appointment we’ll discuss your results in detail and, if appropriate, the treatment options that are available to you. If you have cancer, you’ll be assigned a multidisciplinary team (MDT), a team of specialists who work together to provide the best treatment and care.

The main treatments for breast cancer are:

You may have one of these treatments, or a combination. Together we’ll decide on the best option for you and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. You’ll then either be referred for surgery or to Oncology depending on your needs.

During this time, you’ll be supported by a breast care nurse. This nurse will be your first point of contact and will be by your side at every single appointment.

Breast Screening service

Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they're too small to see or feel.

As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday, and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every 3 years.

Your breasts will be X-rayed one at a time. The breast is placed on the X-ray machine and gently but firmly compressed with a clear plate. Two X-rays are taken of each breast at different angles.

After your breasts have been X-rayed, the mammogram will be checked for any abnormalities. The results of the mammogram will be sent to you and your GP no later than 2 weeks after your appointment.

Following screening, about 1 in 25 women will be called back for further assessment.

Being called back doesn't mean you definitely have cancer. The 1st mammogram may have been unclear. About 1 in 4 women who are called back for further assessment are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Family History service

If there is a history of breast and/or ovarian cancer in your family, your GP can refer you to us so we can assess your risk, discuss how you can reduce your risk and organise extra breast screening appointments if necessary.

Before you come in for your initial appointment, we’ll send you a questionnaire to fill out and return to us. You may need to speak to other members of your family to complete the questionnaire fully.

Breast services secretaries
Cumberland Infirmary
01228 814229

Breast services secretaries
West Cumberland Hospital
01946 523378

Attend Anywhere

This service offers video consultations using Attend Anywhere. This means your consultation can take place from your own home using a secure website.