The Harley Street Breast Clinic

Routine and rapid breast screening with same-day diagnosis, advice and treatments for all breast problems.

3rd Floor, 148 Harley Street, London, W1G 7LG

Glossary of Terms

Our Glossary of Terms will help you understand the Health Care terminology, abbreviations and procedures related to Breast Problems, Diagnosis, Treatment and Screenings.

  • ADH - (Atypical ductal hyperplasia) - a change in the breast tissue that does not need any treatment but demonstrates a four times higher risk for the possible development of breast cancer in the future. Patients with ADH should have regular check ups.
  • Benign Lump - a harmless breast lump and this is not cancerous.
  • Chemotherapy - drug treatment for cancer and this is usually given as a course of injections. Side effects can include sickness, tiredness, hair loss and mouth ulcers.
  • Clinical Oncologist Consultant - specialising in radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
  • Core Needle Biopsy - a type of breast needle biopsy that uses a thicker needle to obtain a very small piece of tissue which shows the archetechture of the tissue as well as the individual cells. This test is always carried out with a local anaesthetic and is usually painless.
  • Cyst - a common cause for a lump in the breast consisting of a thin sac filled with fluid.
  • Cytology - the assessment of breast problems, i.e. microscopic examination of breast cells usually removed with a needle.
  • DCIS - Ductal carcinoma in situ. The step before breast cancer.
  • Family History - occurrence of breast cancer in members of your family which may or may not pre-dispose to breast cancer in yourself.
  • FNAC - fine needle aspiration at cytology. A test that removes breast cells for analysis through a very narrow needle.
  • Fibroadenoma - harmless fibrous painless breast lump occurring in young women.
  • Lumpectomy - also called tilectomy. This is the surgical removal of a lump in the breast for sake of diagnostic biopsy.
  • Malignant - malignant broadly means the same as cancerous tissue. Malignant changes can be invasive or in-situ. The implications for invasive malignant tissue is that it can spread to the lymph glands or other parts of the body causing secondary cancers. In-situ malignancy cannot spread until it becomes invasive.
  • Mammogram - this is a breast x-ray. It is generally only suitable for women aged 35 or over.
  • Mastalgia - the medical word for breast pain.
  • Mastectomy - operation to remove the entire breast leaving a flat scar.
  • Medical Oncologist - Consultant specialising in chemotherapy and drug (hormonal) treatment for cancer.
  • Modified Radical Mastectomy Operation - to remove the breast and the lymph nodes under the arm.
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance image) - a scan using a very high strength magnetic field. This magnetism is entirely harmless. The scan is very noisy and takes between 10-20 minutes. An injection of dye is often given at the same time.
  • Needle Localised Biopsy - operation employing a very thin wire placed in the breast under x-ray or ultrasound control prior to surgery. The wire guides the surgeon to an area of the breast that he may not be able to feel.
  • Oncology - medical speciality dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
  • Radiologist Consultant - specialises in interpretation of x-rays, mammograms and ultrasound imaging of the breast.
  • Radiotherapy - form of treatment using x-ray's to cure cancer cells. It is entirely painless.
  • Tamoxifen - the tablet prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer at all ages and also a low dose treatment of breast pain.
  • Ultrasound - the same type of test that is used when you are pregnant. It relies on high frequency sound waves. It is entirely harmless and is particularly useful for the diagnosis of breast problems in younger women.
  • Wide Local Excision - operation to remove a suspicious or cancerous lump with a small margin of normal tissue around its edge.

Resources / Downloads

  • Patient Pack

    The Harley Street Breast Clinic, Patient Pack
  • Referrals Form

    The Harley Street Breast Clinic, Referrals Form

    If you a referring a patient download our Interactive Referrals Imaging Request Form.

  • Code of Conduct

    The Harley Street Breast Clinic, Code of Conduct
  • CQC Review April 2012

    The Harley Street Breast Clinic, CQC Review of compliance (pdf), April 2012
  • Partner Code of Conduct

    The Harley Street Breast Clinic, Partner Code of Conduct