At our hospitals in the Galway and Hermitage Clinics, Blackrock Health offers a range of services to investigate breast symptoms. This includes lumps, breast pain, nipple discharge, and skin changes. We also offer screening services to patients aged 40 and over who have no symptoms. Our team of experts includes breast surgeons, radiologists, mammographers, pathologists, radiographers, and clinical nurse specialists. We follow the national standard of triple assessment, which includes clinical examination, imaging, and a biopsy if necessary. Our aim is to detect any breast cancer early and provide you with the best treatment and care.
At Blackrock Health, our three hospitals have a history of providing fast and easy access to extensive diagnostic facilities and expert medical or surgical care for patients with cancer. We have invested heavily, both in technology, and in an expert oncology team. This ensures that we can deliver cancer care, tailored to the needs of each individual patient. Our expert consultants and dedicated multidisciplinary teams are here for you. We aim to provide the most comprehensive and compassionate treatment possible in your cancer journey. We are committed to the highest standards of care and have earned a reputation as one of the leaders in the field of private oncology care in Ireland.
At our Clinics in Galway and the Hermitage, we offer a dedicated breast clinic service. Our teams here can provide tests for breast conditions, and they also see patients who need regular health checks. You can get access to screening, consultation, mammography, biopsy, and surgical services with our breast health team. This service is intended to offer additional support to patients and works alongside the Breast Check national screening service offered by the HSE (Health Service Executive).
Our breast service is run by a team of experienced specialists. We see all patients for both screening check-ups and to investigate breast symptoms, such as lumps, breast pain, nipple discharge and skin changes.
We also see men with breast symptoms (lump or enlargement), and patients who have discovered a swelling or are experiencing pain under their arm.
Our team of experts includes:
Clinical nurse specialists (Hermitage)
Our symptomatic service is for anyone who has found an issue with their breasts.
We follow the national standard of triple assessment, which includes:
clinical examination by a consultant breast surgeon
imaging, such as a mammogram and ultrasound
a biopsy interpreted by a consultant pathologist
Most patients will only require clinical examination and imaging.
If you are 35 or over, you will normally have a mammogram first. Depending on your examination, you might also have an ultrasound. If you are under 35, an ultrasound is the standard way to image breast tissue.
Many patients do not need a biopsy. Most patients who have a biopsy have benign (harmless) findings.
We have been providing breast cancer services over the last ten years encompassing radiology, triple assessment, surgery, chemotherapy administration and radiotherapy services.
We offer mammograms to patients aged 40 and over who have asked for a check-up and have no symptoms.
This service is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of specialists who work together to make sure you receive the best treatment and care.
If an abnormality is detected, you may need further tests. This might include an ultrasound or biopsy. Around 1 in 10 patients need tests following their mammogram.
Most patients who have further tests have benign findings.
Specialised Breast Service
The service offers state of the art screening and diagnostic services including digital mammography, ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
What is triple assessment?
The Triple Assessment Clinic (TAC) is sometimes referred to as TAC. Triple assessment means you will have the following:
Clinical examination by a breast surgeon
A digital mammogram and/or breast ultrasound
A core biopsy or fine needle aspiration (FNA)
However, not all patients who attend symptomatic breast clinic require a triple assessment.
In the Hermitage Clinic, this service is delivered in accordance with the guidelines of the National Quality Assurance Standards for Symptomatic Breast Disease Services and the HIQA standards.
Digital mammography is a simple procedure that generates an x-ray of a woman’s breast. The radiographer will position you correctly before compressing the breast to take a digital image that will appear on the monitor in seconds. Mammogram can save lives by detecting small tumours that cannot be felt under clinical examination.
High Resolution ultrasound scanning is used to take clear images of breast tissue. It provides better definition of normal and abnormal features of the breast. It is a painless procedure and can take 10 – 30 minutes to perform.
A core biopsy is performed when your consultant requires more information on a lump or lesion found in the breast tissue. Under local anaesthetic, a sterile needle is placed into the breast tissue. Cores of tissue from the breast lump or lesion are cut away with the biopsy needle and sent to the laboratory for examination.
Types of breast cancer:
Ductal carcinoma in situ.
Inflammatory breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer.
Frequently asked questions
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in Ireland. About 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer cannot be prevented so the aim is to detect it as early as possible. Early detection of breast cancer and appropriate treatment gives the best outcome.
What you need to know
The diagnosis and management of breast disease has become a complex and highly specialised field. Our patients have benefited from the experience of internationally trained consultants in breast radiology, surgery and pathology. This multidisciplinary approach, referred to as triple assessment, is the key to safe and effective practice.
Breast cancer symptoms to look out for:
- Any lumps or thickening in your breast
- Skin – dimpling, puckering, or redness
- Nipple – pulled in or flattened
- Around the nipple – rash, flaky or crusted skin
- A change in the shape or size of your breast
- Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
- Constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit
- Nipple Discharge.
How long will I be at the clinic?
We allocate appointment times and aim to see all patients promptly. Sometimes, there may be unavoidable delays particularly if you require a number of tests. It is possible that you may need to spend a number of hours at the hospital and you should make allowances for this. It is also advisable to bring along something to read while you wait.
What should I bring with me?
It is important to bring any previous mammograms or x-rays taken of your breast, please arrange to bring these with you. You will need to contact the hospital or clinic where you had these tests carried out and arrange to get copies of the films to bring with you. If you have difficulty in getting your previous films, please contact the breast secretary in the Breast Clinic in advance of your appointment.
What happens when I arrive?
When you check in you will be asked by the receptionist to confirm your personal and contact details. You will meet the breast surgeon who will ask you details about your symptoms and will carry out an examination.
After examination, the doctor may decide you need some tests, such as a mammogram, ultrasound or breast biopsy. If possible these tests will be done on the same day as your clinic appointment. A breast care nurse is available at the clinic to provide information and support.
What tests might I have?
Depending on your age and symptoms you may have a mammogram or a breast ultrasound scan. Some people will have both tests.
After a mammogram or ultrasound the doctor may decide to take a sample from the lump, either by a core biopsy or fine needle aspiration. These tests are explained later in this booklet.
When will I get the result of my biopsy?
If you proceed to biopsy, you will be brought back to the results clinic. Results can take up to 2 weeks to be processed. We understand that this time can be a very anxious and worrying period. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you might have. We aim to keep you updated at each step of your journey.
What are the benefits of having a Mammogram?
When x-rays or scans are taken, they are known as images, and the process is called imaging. Imaging the breasts improves a physician’s ability to detect small tumours. When cancers are small, women have more treatment options and a higher success rate. Regular mammograms are the best method available for early detection of breast cancer.
What is a Mammogram?
Imaging the breasts improves a physician’s ability to detect small tumours. When cancers are small, women have more treatment options and a higher success rate. Regular mammograms are the best method available for early detection of breast cancer.
A mammogram is a low dose x-ray examination of your breasts. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer often is linked to early detection. A mammogram can detect changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician.
At what age should you have a Mammogram?
There is a clear recommendation for every woman from the age of 40 to have a screening mammogram done every two years. The national breast screening program, BreastCheck, invites every woman aged 50-70 for a mammogram every 2 years. Those women who have had Breast Cancer and those who are at an increased risk due to a genetic history of Breast cancer should seek medical advice whether they should begin screening before the age of 40 and about the frequency of screening.
How do I get this?
You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment.
Is this insured?
Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance Cover Check page, or by contacting your health insurer.
How do I pay?
If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.