Getting diagnosed with breast cancer

You usually start by seeing your GP if you have breast symptoms. Your GP will examine you and might refer you for tests to a specialist breast clinic.

Or you may have had changes picked up through breast screening. 

Find out about how you are diagnosed including the tests you might have, screening, seeing your GP and being referred to a breast clinic. 

Breast screening

Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early, when they have the best chance of being successfully treated. Find out about the UK breast screening programme, who has screening, and how you have it.

Finding breast cancer early

Finding breast cancer early means that you have the best chance of being successfully treated. Find out what breast awareness is and which breast and chest changes to look out for.

Seeing your GP when you have symptoms of breast cancer

Your GP will ask about your general health and any symptoms you may have. They may also do some general tests and examine your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit and neck. Find out what happens and how to get the most out of your appointment. 

Referral to a breast clinic

You might have a referral to a breast clinic if your GP refers you due to symptoms, or following a positive result from your breast screening mammogram. Find out more.

Tests for breast cancer

You have a number of tests to check for breast cancer. This includes a breast examination, a mammogram, a biopsy and scans. 

Tests on your breast cancer cells

These can help to find out the type of breast cancer you have and look for proteins (receptors) on the surface of breast cancer cells. They can also look at cancer genes (tumour profiling tests). 

Last reviewed: 
22 May 2023
Next review due: 
22 May 2026