The Primrose Breast Care Centre is a state of art centre that provides exemplary care and support to all. The Centre marked a change to previous practice when it opened: now women coming with a lump or bump could get seen, examined, have a mammogram, an ultrasound, a biopsy – whatever they needed – all in one appointment. This cut down the delay to diagnosis as much as possible.
Some women have symptoms and are referred by their GP. Women arrive and see a surgeon first of all. After an initial consultation, and usually examination (which quite often is all that is needed), the surgeon decides if they need any imaging tests. Both tests, the Mammogram and ultrasound, can be performed at the time of the clinic visit and are reported immediately. Though many women don’t need imaging, or only one of the tests, it is often the case that the explanation for their symptoms can be offered on the same day.
Some are invited for screening because they have reached screening age. Women who have screening mammograms usually get sent a normal result. For some women, most of whom have nothing wrong, further tests may be needed to be sure of something we’ve seen. These clinics operate out of the centre too. Women arrive, are seen by a nurse, they may then have extra X-ray views or an ultrasound scan and biopsy to help us work out what is happening.
That’s not all the centre does of course: it is a hub for the NHS Breast Screening service of West Devon and East Cornwall. The huge job of inviting almost 25,000 women every year and finding them an appointment, changing it if necessary and co-ordinating the next steps all happens from the centre. The team reading all those mammograms work here too. Very advanced biopsy systems, capable of picking out dots of calcium much smaller than a millimetre, and the teams to operate them, work from the centre. Special screening clinics for catching up if people miss appointments or change their minds are run in the centre. We take mammograms to check on women treated for breast cancer in the past.
Specialist Breast Care Nurses within the centre help people through the process and several other related services are also found in the centre. For example, companies hold regular clinics here offering prosthetics and fitting for women who have had a mastectomy - they may need specially tailored clothing and padding to make that almost always their secret.
Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of people in the centre waiting room and some of them come and go while you wait – there are lots of different happenings within the centre every day.
But please be assured, we are a small friendly team, even though when you write it down it sounds like we are a huge place. We put a priority on making women feel as much at ease as possible. We do understand how very stressful having to think about things and come to a breast centre can be. We do our best to make that a little easier.