Breast health is an important issue for women of all ages. It is essential to understand the different types of doctors that specialise in treating breast concerns so that you can get the best treatment possible.
This article will provide information about the different types of doctors who treat breast issues and how to choose the best doctor for your needs.
What Is A Breast Specialist?
A breast specialist is someone you are referred to by a doctor and is a highly trained physician who specialises in diagnosing, treating, and managing breast diseases and disorders.
They are specially trained to work with patients who have a family history of breast cancer, those who have been diagnosed with breast lumps or masses, and women who are experiencing symptoms such as breast pain, nipple discharge, or changes in breast size.
What sets breast specialists apart from other physicians is their extensive training and expertise in breast health.
They have completed additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, and they have the knowledge and experience to guide women through the screening and treatment process.
Breast specialists may include breast surgeons, surgical breast oncologists, medical oncologists, and other specialists who are trained in the treatment and management of breast cancer(see also: Why Does My Breast Hurt When I Lay Down?).
They work closely with patients to develop treatment plans that are tailored to their individual needs, taking into consideration factors such as family history, personal risk factors, and the type and stage of cancer.
In addition to their specialised training, breast specialists are also knowledgeable about the latest treatments and technologies available for breast cancer.
They are well-versed in the use of imaging tests, such as mammograms and ultrasounds, and are able to interpret mammogram reports to determine if further testing is necessary.
What To Expect From Your Doctor?
Here’s what you can expect from your initial visit to the doctor when addressing breast problems:
1. Assessment of Personal Risk Factors: Your doctor will likely ask for a personal and family medical history to assess your risk for breast cancer. Other factors, such as age, menstrual cycles, and use of hormonal therapies or contraceptives can also influence the risk.
2. Evaluation of Symptoms: If you are experiencing breast pain or discomfort, your doctor will ask questions about the location and severity of the symptoms. They may also look for any visible changes in the breasts, such as lumps, dimpling, or changes in the colour or texture of the skin.
3. Clinical Breast Exam: During this exam, your doctor will use their hands to check for any lumps or masses in the breasts and underarms. They may also assess the size, shape, and texture of the breasts.
4. Imaging Tests: Depending on the symptoms and findings of the clinical breast exam, your doctor may recommend further imaging tests, such as mammograms or ultrasounds. These tests can help determine the nature of any lumps or masses seen during the exam.
5. Biopsy: In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to obtain a tissue sample for further analysis. This can help determine if a lump or mass is benign or cancerous.
6. Referral to a Breast Specialist: If further evaluation or treatment is needed, your doctor may refer you to a breast specialist. These are healthcare professionals who have specialised training in the diagnosis and treatment of breast diseases, including breast cancer.
Preparing For Your Appointment
When preparing for an appointment with a breast specialist, there are some important steps that you can take to ensure that you get the most out of your time with the doctor.
Firstly, it is a good idea to keep a journal of when you experience breast pain or any other symptoms, how long it lasts, and rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10. This information can be very helpful to the specialist in making a diagnosis.
You should also list all your symptoms, including any changes in breast size, shape, or appearance, as well as any discharge or nipple changes.
Additionally, make sure to provide your medical history, including any previous breast procedures or operations, and a list of any medications that you are currently taking.
It is also important to prepare a list of questions that you want to ask the specialist.
Start with the most important questions, such as what tests will be done, what treatments may be recommended, or what type of breast problem you may be dealing with.
You can then work your way down the list, asking any additional questions that you have.
When booking an appointment, there are a few options available to you. You can call your GP practice to make an appointment, book online, or use the NHS App.
If you are having trouble getting through, try different times of the day, or ask your GP practice if they have any earlier or later appointments available.
The treatment recommended by a breast specialist will depend on the individual’s medical history, the type of breast problem, and the results of any tests that have been performed.
Depending on the individual’s case, treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as diet or exercise modifications. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms.
Surgery may be recommended for more serious conditions, such as benign tumours or cancer. The breast specialist may also refer the patient to other specialists, such as a radiologist or oncologist, for additional testing or treatment.
The breast specialist may also suggest follow-up visits to monitor the condition and ensure that it is being managed properly. During follow-up visits, the doctor may recommend additional testing to check for changes in the condition.
Your doctor may also provide the patient with access to support services, such as counselling or support groups, to help them cope with their condition.
In conclusion, when experiencing any type of breast problems, it is important to consult with a medical professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Depending on the type of issue, a patient may need to consult with a gynaecologist, family doctor, or breast specialist. It is also important to keep up with regular breast health screenings, such as mammograms, to monitor for potential health issues.
By taking the necessary precautions, patients can get the care they need to keep their breasts healthy and functioning properly.