Our state of the art breast unit provides a variety of services to the local population. We have a well-established team of specialists who work within recognised guidelines for the management of breast disorders
We diagnose and treat over 450 new breast cancers every year.
Our breast unit is also the designated cancer centre for the people of South Essex and provides the NHS breast screening service for Shoebury, Thorpe Bay, Southend, Westcliff, Leigh, Thundersley, Canvey, Basildon, Stanford, Corringham, Grays, Lakeside, Rochford, Hockley, Rayleigh, Billericay and Wickford. There are three mobile breast screening units for a screening population of approximately 90,000 women. Each woman has to receive an invitation for screening once every three years.
We have a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, radiotherapists and nurses that meets weekly to discuss the results of investigations and surgery. They follow recognised national guidelines and local protocols to agree possible treatment choices. The results of the multidisciplinary team meetings are discussed with those patients concerned and a plan of action agreed jointly.
After surgery some patients are referred to an oncologist, a doctor who specialises in cancer treatment. The oncologist will discuss with the patient whether additional treatment such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiotherapy should be considered.
After breast surgery the tissue removed is sent to the pathologist who examines the specimen. Based upon their dissection and microscopic examination of the specimen, they are able to determine the tumour grade (how aggressive the cancer appears) and the stage (the size of the tumour and the extent to which it has already spread from the original site). Additionally, the pathologist determines whether the cancer possesses proteins on its cell surfaces which bind to the hormone oestrogen. The information that the pathologist provides - grade, stage and oestrogen receptor status - assists the breast surgeon, oncologist and radiotherapist in choosing the best possible treatment for each patient.
Our breast care nurses work full time within the unit and provide holistic care and advice throughout the patient's 'cancer journey'. They are the first point of contact for patients should they have any problems during or after their treatment and are meet all patients at the time of diagnosis. Advice is given on treatments, alternatives and possible side effects and a wide range of information leaflets supplements this.
Our breast unit is the base for both the symptomatic breast service and the breast screening service. Radiographers who work for these services have undergone a year's postgraduate training specialising in mammography (taking x-rays of the breast). They also train in the specialised areas of assessment mammography, assisting the radiologist in biopsy and pre-operative guide wire locations. There are 15 radiographers working within our breast unit, some of whom are extending their roles to become advanced practitioners. These radiographers will specialise in reading x-rays and performing breast ultrasound.
Breast screening reception: 01702 385024
Breast care nurses: 01702 385025
Symptomatic services: 01702 385319