Welcome to the Breast Surgery Service

OUR dedicated team provides diagnostic and therapeutic care and treatment to approximately 500,000 patients within the Bradford area.

It also acts as a tertiary referral centre for the neighbouring areas of Airedale, Dewsbury, Halifax and Huddersfield for patients requiring diagnostic breast screening and breast reconstruction.

A team of specialist staff provides support to patients diagnosed with breast problems before, during and after treatment. Patients without breast symptoms who have concerns about a family history of breast cancer can also be referred to the service for professional advice and support.

Close links exist with other specialist services, including Radiology, Pathology, Plastic Surgery, Oncology, Clinical Genetics and Palliative Care.

Outpatient services are provided in a dedicated diagnostic outpatient facility, the Dales Suite, located on level 2, area 8, of the Horton Wing at St Luke’s Hospital.

Patients requiring further assessment after attending for screening mammography are invited to appointments at our Pennine Suite, located directly opposite our Dales Suite.


Referral pathways

If you have a new breast symptom you should contact your GP immediately who will arrange for you to be seen at one of the five weekly symptomatic breast clinics held at the Dales Unit (Area 8, Level 2) at St Luke’s Hospital. This appointment will provide you with the opportunity to meet a consultant breast surgeon who will assess and advise on your symptoms and any treatment if required.

If you have attended for a recent breast screening x-ray (mammogram), you may be invited for a further assessment appointment. An invitation letter will be sent to attend an appointment within the Pennine Breast Screening Unit at St Luke’s Hospital.

At this appointment you will meet with a consultant breast radiologist and breast care nurse specialist, who will advise you on the reason for your second appointment and any further x-rays, ultrasound scans and tests required.

Breast Screening advert pic

Family history

If you have a family history of breast cancer, your GP can refer you to the family history clinic for specialist advice and assessment. During this consultation you will meet with a consultant breast surgeon to discuss your current, known family history and a clinical breast examination will be performed.

The team will then assess your risks using screening tools recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), and will advise you of your current risk status. If you have a high risk of developing breast cancer a referral to the Regional Genetics Service, based in Leeds, will be requested.

If you have a moderate risk the assessing surgeon will discuss your eligibility for screening breast imaging and the intervals of these assessments and will enrol you into the family history surveillance programme. If you have a low or equal risk to that of aged-matched members of the public, we will advise you on how to monitor for new breast symptoms and provide a summary of the family history recommendations to your GP.

First appointment

Your visit to the breast clinic may take several hours to allow all necessary tests to be carried out. The order in which the tests are completed will vary between clinics. You may want to bring a friend or relative with you for company or support. However, they won’t usually be allowed in clinical areas.

A doctor or specialist nurse, experienced in diagnosing and treating breast problems, will usually see you first. You will be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about any family history of breast problems, any medication you’re taking –  including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or the contraceptive pill – or any previous breast surgery (including breast implants).

This will be followed by a breast examination, where the doctor or nurse will check both breasts. The examination involves looking at and feeling both breasts when you are sitting and lying down. As part of the examination, it’s usual to examine the lymph nodes (glands) under your arm. You may need to have further tests. They will usually include one or more of the following:

  • Mammogram (breast x-ray)
  • Ultrasound scan

If an abnormality is felt in the breast or axilla (underarm) examination, or seen on the ultrasound or mammogram of the breast, your doctor may perform one or two further tests:

  • A fine needle aspiration (FNA) which involves taking one or more samples of breast cells or cells from the gland under your arm, known as lymph nodes, using a fine needle and syringe
  • A core biopsy which obtains a sample (sometimes several) of breast tissue from the area of concern. Tissue is taken rather than cells because it provides more detailed information
The Meadows Unit

A local anaesthetic will be used before these procedures to keep you comfortable during the tests.

Not everyone will have an FNA or core biopsy, depending on your symptoms or the findings from your mammogram and/or ultrasound scan.

We want to ensure you are kept fully informed throughout your visit of the reasons for any tests and investigations. Please feel free to ask questions during your visit if you are at all uncertain about any aspect of your treatment.

If you require an FNA or core biopsy, you will be advised of the expected timing of your results before you leave the clinic. You will be given contact details for the breast care specialist nursing team and you are welcome to contact them if you have any further questions or concerns.

Appointment cancellations

If you are unable to attend your planned appointment please contact:

  • Breast reception – for all patients referred to The Dales Unit with a new breast symptom. Call 01274 365330/36574/365063/365844 to re-book your appointment
  • Breast screening main reception – for all patients invited to a further appointment after your screening breast x-ray (mammogram). Call 01274 365525 to re-book your appointment

Breast Surgery Services in the news

Interested in joining our team?

Our talented and compassionate staff care for a diverse population, making Bradford a special place to work. Choosing the right people is key to our success. If you think you’ve got what it takes, please contact us by email at careers@bthft.nhs.uk to discover more about our latest opportunities.