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Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in your breast grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. It can affect your breast tissue, nipples and lymph nodes. Breast cancer is most common in women over the age of 50, but can affect women of any age. Men can also get breast cancer, but this is much less common.

For further information about signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more please visit Breast Cancer Care.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK also provide information and support for people living with and beyond breast cancer.

King’s breast service

Our breast service has clinics at the King’s College Hospital and the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH). Both clinics provide investigation, diagnostics, treatment and follow-up care for patients with suspected and diagnosed breast cancers, and also include services for benign breast disease.

A group of experts called a multidisciplinary team (MDT) will be responsible for your care. This is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals specialising in treating your type of cancer.

Most referrals to the breast service come from GP surgeries and the South East London Breast Screening Programme. The breast MDT serves the population of the London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Bromley.

What to expect at your appointment

The breast clinic is an outpatient clinic where you will be seen by a team of specialist healthcare professionals. They will ask you about your symptoms and examine your breasts. You may have some tests on the same day or at a later date.

At your first appointment, you may meet a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who will be your key worker during your care at King’s. They work as part of a team of specialist breast cancer nurses. They will explain the tests you need to have, discuss your treatment options and support you and your family.

We will also give you written information about the type of cancer you have, your treatment options, and other sources of support, such as King’s Macmillan Information and Support Centre.

You can bring a partner, friend or relative to your appointment for support if you wish.

Tests and investigations

To find out whether you have cancer and to assess your treatment options, you may need to have one or more of the following tests:

Treatments

Breast cancer is usually treated with either surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy (or a combination of treatments). Sometimes radiotherapy is combined with chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

The type of surgery and combination of treatments needed will depend on:

  • the type of cancer you have
  • its size and where it is
  • how far it has advanced (the stage)
  • your overall health

The final decision about what treatment you have is yours.

After our team of specialists reviews the results of your tests and investigations, we will arrange an appointment so you can discuss your treatment options with your consultant and CNS.

Who to contact

King’s College Hospital breast service

Breast Care reception: 020 3299 2976
Breast Screening team: 020 3299 3380

Breast Care Nurses (clinical nurse specialists):
Available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Phone: 020 3299 3085. You may get through to an answerphone. If so, please leave a message and your call will be answered within 24 hours.
Email: [email protected]

Urgent queries

If you have had treatment in our day surgery unit, please use the contact you were given during your consultation.

For chemotherapy-related issues during your treatment, please contact the Acute Oncology Service (AOS) on 020 3299 5467, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you are calling outside of these hours, please contact the AOS Helpline on 020 7188 3754. This helpline is supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Princess Royal University Hospital breast service

Chartwell Unit outpatients reception: 01689 863160
Chartwell Unit treatment suite: 01689 863155

Breast Care Nurses (clinical nurse specialists):
Available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
Phone: 01689 863173. You may get through to an answerphone. If so, please leave a message and your call will be answered within 24 hours.
Email: [email protected]

Urgent queries

If you have had treatment in our day surgery unit, please contact the Early Discharge Team on 01689 864482 (answerphone).

For chemotherapy-related issues please contact the Treatment Suite on 01689 863155 during the working hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you are calling outside of these hours, please contact the AOS Helpline on 020 7188 3754. This helpline is supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

For any other urgent queries please either:

How we support you

We want to make sure that you get the assistance you need to live well with – and after – cancer. There is a wide range of support available to help you cope with cancer, including physical, emotional and practical advice for you, your family, friends and carers.

If you have practical queries or want further help and support, please contact the Macmillan Centre at King’s on 020 3299 5228. Services include signposting to benefits advisors, local charities and community support, as well as a wig fitting service, and scarf tying workshops.

We also run a support group for those with metastatic or secondary breast cancer.