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Symptomatic Breast Service

The Symptomatic Breast Service in St Vincent’s Hospital was established in the early 80’s. It was the first and is the largest dedicated Symptomatic Breast Service in the country. At the clinic more than 250 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer are treated annually and over 7000 women are seen during the year with various breast complaints.
The Triple Assessment Clinic was established in 2003. The purpose of this clinic is to provide a rapid diagnostic service to patients.
Women attending the Triple Assessment Clinic have breast imaging and biopsy as necessary to complement clinical examination.
At this clinic the women’s breast will be examined by a doctor and/or Advance Nurse Practitioner. Then her breasts will be imaged by x-rays – mammogram and/or ultrasound. (The Choice between mammography or ultrasound for imaging depends largely on the women’s age, although some women have both tests. Ultrasound alone is used more often for women under 35). Finally some cells may be removed from the lump by means of a small needle through the skin/ (Fine needle aspiration or FNAC). Sometimes it is necessary to perform a core biopsy of the lump, which removes a small piece of the lump using a slightly larger needle. Local anaesthetic is usually used for these needle tests.
Available at each clinic are Breast Care Nurses trained to support and educate patients and their families who have been diagnosed with having breast cancer. It is usual for the nurse to be involved with the patient at initial diagnosis in order to build a rapport and gain the confidence of the patient and their family.
To ensure best practice all our patients who have had a biopsy are discussed in detail each week at our weekly comprehensive Multi Disciplinary Team Meeting. Patients are kept involved in the decision making process from the point of first referral and the Breast Care Nurses are available throughout the entire patient journey.

Mission Statement of the Breast Clinic

"to lead in the provision of easily accessible high quality care for women with breast complaints, through Information, Education, Diagnosis, Screening, Treatment and Research"

Our Goals

  • To develop, implement and promote best practice, patient focused multi disciplinary breast care
  • To improve detection and treatment of breast cancer through ongoing public education as well as that of health professionals
  • To facilitate the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer
  • To translate research findings into improving the care and quality of life of patients with breast cancer
  • To monitor breast cancer outcomes through data collection, analysis and dissemination