Consultant Oncoplastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Breast Surgeon Amar runs a revolutionary One-Stop Breast Clinic at Euxton Hall Hospital in Chorley.
The clinic provides all relevant assessments – consultation, mammogram/ultrasound and biopsy – in the space of three to four hours. A diagnosis is made the very same day. We caught up with him to find out why his service is not only important in detecting breast cancer early but protecting a patient’s mental health too.
Tell us a little more about your role?
I’ve been a breast surgeon for over ten years. As well as working for Euxton Hall Hospital – which is part of Ramsay Health Care – I also work at an NHS hospital (Wigan Infirmary). I specialise in breast reconstruction for cancer patients. I also provide cosmetic breast surgery i.e. breast augmentation, reduction, mastopexy and lipomodelling.
Very few private hospitals offer the kind of one-stop service you do. Why were you so passionate about starting it?
Finding a lump/changes can be extremely scary for a patient and the wait between testing and receiving results can undoubtedly be one of their biggest anxieties. I launched the clinic, not only to deliver swift diagnoses, but to eradicate weeks of worry. Worry which is often unnecessary, e.g. not all lumps turn out to be cancerous. And, if a patient is diagnosed with cancer, we can start treatment immediately.
Does the NHS offer anything similar?
The patient pathway is the same, but it is a far longer process. If you find a lump, for example, you theoretically should be seen within two weeks, however sometimes this wait can be longer.
When should women consider coming to see you / what are the signs to look out for?
A painless lump or painful lump in the breast, any changes to the skin (e.g. ulceration, creasing or dimpling) or to the nipples (e.g. discharge, especially if bloody and from only one breast). Pain in the breast is often a worry but rarely a symptom of cancer… it can be the result of anything from musculoskeletal pain to wearing an ill-fitting bra to cyclical pain!
Should lower-risk under-40s attend the clinic?
Breast cancer is more common in the over-40s, but never ever be complacent if you notice changes! I diagnose women with breast cancer in their 20s and 30s, young, low-risk women with no family history of the disease.
What can a patient expect at the clinic?
There will be a one-to-one consultation with me. If I think further investigation is needed/an abnormality is seen/felt, they will have an immediate mammogram and/or ultrasound. A biopsy/fine-needle aspiration will follow but only if needed. My team are superb at putting anxious patients at ease. Our Matron Dawn Sumner is wonderful with people as is our specialist breast care nurses and imaging team.
Sounds very relaxed and reassuring?
The biggest fear for patients is the unknown. That’s why I like to explain everything in detail, sometimes it’s those patients who are not diagnosed with cancer who need the most detailed explanation to alleviate their anxiety. If it isn’t cancer the main discussion is around the treatment of that. I also used to offer monthly informal evening-time events at the Thomas Linacre Centre in Wigan (Patient Involvement Event or PIE), to provide more time/information to non-private patients. These will restart after the current coronavirus crisis is over.
How quickly could you see someone at Euxton Hall?
The One-Stop Breast Clinic runs every Friday.
How do women book an appointment
at the clinic?
There are several ways – they can get their GP to refer them, make contact via their health insurer, or give the hospital a call themselves. You will only pay for the parts of the service you end up needing e.g. just a consultation. This is a bespoke service.
For more information, visit euxtonhallhospital.co.uk, call 01257 276261 or contact Lisa (Private Patient Manager) on 07766 316354 or at lisa.boddington@Ramsayhealth.co.uk