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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the United Kingdom. It makes up 15% of cancer cases and affects more than 60,000 women every year.

Being diagnosed with any cancer can be stressful, but The London Clinic can offer expert treatment, psychological support and a comfortable, calm environment in which to recover.

Early diagnosis and effective management by specialists can improve the chances of the cancer not recurring. The London Clinic provides a full breast care service for women who are worried about their breast health or who have developed breast cancer. Male breast cancer is rare, but The London Clinic also offers treatment for men with the condition.

The London Clinic offers high-tech imaging and pathology services, together with breast cancer surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and specialist nurse, who are leaders in their field. They will share their in-depth knowledge and offer the latest available treatments.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease that develops when cells in the breast tissue begin to divide and grow abnormally. These cells can proliferate and form tumours. There are several different types of breast cancer. These can grow at different rates and respond to different therapies.

Who is at risk of breast cancer?

The risk of getting cancer is linked to your age, your genetic background and your lifestyle. All people could potentially develop the disease; but some factors put you at increased risk.

  • Women: The great majority of new breast cancers are found in women, with less than 400 men being affected in the UK every year.
  • Increasing age: In the UK, over 80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50.
  • Family history: Breast cancer is common, so many people will have family members with the disease, without having an increased danger of developing the disease. However, around 1 in 20 people may have inherited a faulty gene. A family history is thought to be significant if a number of relatives have had breast or ovarian cancer, especially if they were diagnosed at a young age.

The London Clinic offers counselling and genetic testing for people are worried about a family history of breast cancer. If appropriate, risk reducing surgery is available.

Other factors that may increase breast cancer risk, include smoking, alcohol, being overweight, the use of hormone replacement therapy or the pill and having dense breast tissue. The hormone oestrogen is linked to the development of breast cancer; because of this, the disease is more common in women whose periods start before the age of 12, those who have a late menopause and women who have fewer children.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer can be picked up on routine screening, or when a woman notices changes in the look or feel of her breasts. Changes to look for:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast or armpit.
  • Asymmetry or uneven breasts
  • A change in size or shape
  • Constant pain in the breast or armpit.
  • Blood stained nipple discharge
  • An inverted nipple that starts to turn in on itself.
  • Nipple rash or scabbing.
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast.

Many breast changes are not cancerous. For those that are, early diagnosis is associated with a better outcome. See your GP or contact The London Clinic for assessment and tests if you are concerned.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Breast cancer specialists at The London Clinic

The London Clinic’s priority is to provide our patients with support, comfort and access to the best and most up-to-date cancer care.

We have a team of expert breasts surgeons offering breast surgery and breast reconstruction. Some forms of breast reconstruction is surgically managed by a plastic surgeon. Many are also experts in operating to remove breast tumours and surgically reconstructing the breasts.

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating. Our specialists work with multi-disciplinary teams to maintain your physical health and your emotional wellbeing, including complementary therapy or counselling service, and extensive physiotherapy service. They are dedicated to supporting you and your family, through every step of your cancer journey.

Investigations and tests at The London Clinic

The London Clinic offers a range of investigations to detect breast cancer in a private, comfortable environment. We are also able to provide accurate diagnosis, staging and molecular typing of breast tumours, to ensure you get the best possible treatment for your particular cancer.

You will be seen in the clinic by one of our breast cancer specialists. Following the consultation, you will go to the imaging department for further testing:

Mammogram: These can be done for routine screening or to diagnose changes in the breast. The London Clinic uses the latest digital mammograms. Low energy X-rays are passed through your breast and images relayed to a computer screen for an expert radiologist to read and report.
Ultrasound: These scans can be better for assessing the breasts of women under 35 years of age. Ultrasound can also be used to look for any evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes in the armpit. Ultrasound is also used in conjunction with a mammogram.

MRI scanning: The London Clinic has a state-of-the-art imaging department with two MRI scanners and experts to perform the tests and interpret the results.
Breast core-biopsy: If an abnormality is seen, a biopsy will be done under local anaesthetic. Our experts may use ultrasound control for increased accuracy and precision. Small cylinders of tissue are sent for expert analysis in our pathology laboratories. This takes a few days and an appointment will be made to discuss the results.
Breast cancer typing: The London Clinic offers special molecular tests that look at the activity of certain genes within the tumour. This can help predict how likely the cancer is to grow and spread, so that the best post-surgical treatment can be planned. The tests can be done on biopsies, but are often performed on sections from the tumour after it has been removed.

Treatments for breast cancer at The London Clinic

The best treatment for your breast cancer will depend on the size, stage and type of your tumour. Your consultant may order some investigations to gather more information. They will then discuss the potential options with you and develop a personalised treatment plan, recommended following a discussion at a multidisciplinary team meeting led by the experts involved in your care.

Surgery is usually the first line of treatment but many people will also need further therapy, or a combination of treatments, to reduce the risks of the cancer spreading or recurring.


Mastectomy is a procedure to remove the breast. This surgery may remove just the breast tissue, or the breasts together with some of the lymph nodes in the armpit. Your expert surgeon will discuss the most appropriate options for you and offer potential reconstruction techniques.


For some cancers, breast-conserving surgery can be appropriate. The lump is removed with some of the surrounding tissue in a procedure known as a wide local excision. Some of the lymph nodes in the armpit will be removed and checked for cancer cells, this is known as sentinel lymph node biopsy.


Different combinations of chemotherapy can be given by mouth or intravenous injection. These can prevent any remaining cancer cells dividing and spreading. The London Clinic has 22 outpatient pods, so that patients coming in for the day can receive treatment in comfort and privacy.


Targeted high-energy X-ray radiation is directed at the chest to destroy any remaining cancer cells and stop them from spreading and growing. The Duchess of Devonshire Wing has a dedicated suite with the latest image-guided and intensity-modulated radiotherapy.

Intraoperative Radiotherapy

For patients with a certain type and size of cancer where the radiotherapy is delivered during the operation. This treatment is registered and data sent to a registry to monitor the long-term results, similar to a clinical trial.  

Hormone therapy

Breast cancer cells often contain receptors for the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The circulating hormones can bind to these, driving the cells to grow faster and potentially spread.

Treatment to block or remove these hormones, such as the oestrogen blocker Tamoxifen may prevent the cancer returning. There are a range of drugs which carry out the role of hormone blocking therapy which will be assessed to determine which is best for you.

Targeted therapy

Cancer cells grow in an uncontrolled way. This can be stimulated by chemical messages which signal to receptors on the cells. Medications like Herceptin can block this mechanism and reduce the abnormal growth.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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