At the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Breast Unit, we provide comprehensive breast care to more than 12,000 patients each year.
Our unit is the largest in the south west, and one of the few units in the country offering Oncoplastic surgery. We strive to deliver the highest standard of care to all of our patients and remain at the forefront of diagnosis, treatment, research and training in breast disease.
To achieve this we actively support and encourage patients to participate in nationally and internationally run trials so that we can explore new frontiers in preventing, diagnosing and treating breast cancer
The Breast Care Team
Our breast care team includes:
Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeons
Specialist Radiographers & Radiologists
Specialist Breast Care Nurses
Clinical & Medical Oncologists (The Sunrise Centre)
The Specialist Breast Anaesthetic Team
The Specialist Breast Theatre Team
Specialist Breast Ward Nurses & Outpatient Clinic Nurses
The Breast Admin & Secretarial Team (Mermaid Centre & RCHT)
Sarah Maker (Mrs Kumaresan, Mrs English, Mr Abbas)
The Mermaid Centre Reception
Breast Care Nurses
01872 252972 or 01872 252208 or 01872 253797
Breast Screening Programme Administrator
The Mermaid Centre
All breast clinic and diagnostic work is carried out at The Mermaid Centre, a purpose-built diagnostic facility at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
The Mermaid is home to the Cornwall Breast Screening Programme (NHS BSP) and the Oncoplastic Breast Unit. We also monitor patients with a family history that maybe at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
It was one of the first units in the UK to have a fully digitalised mammography screening service.
Our commitment to providing the highest possible quality screening programme was judged the best screening programme in the region in 2008, and among the best in the UK by the South West Screening Quality Assurance team. In October 2011, the Mermaid Centre was one of the first breast units in the country to be endorsed by Breakthrough Breast Cancer for our Service Pledge commitment to the patients of Cornwall.
Around one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. The likelihood of recovery is high if breast cancer is detected in its early stages. All women aged between 50 and 70 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years.
The breast screening programme uses low-dose X-rays to examine the breasts and look for different types of tumors and cysts. Mammography has been proven to reduce mortality from breast cancer.
Like all x-rays, mammograms use doses of ionizing radiation to create this image. Radiologists then analyse the image for any abnormal growths.
If you are invited for breast screening or a mammogram, you may come to the Mermaid Centre, our dedicated building for Mammography (see above for more details). We also have two mobile vans for breast screening that visit the following towns:
Almost all breast surgery is performed at St. Michael’s Hospital in Hayle, which is home to the specialist Oncoplastic Breast Unit, and the regional specialist orthopaedic centre.
It has 4 laminar flow operating theatres, and since opening in 2009 one of the two new state-of-the-art theatres has been dedicated exclusively for breast surgery.
The St Michael’s ward is a bright, clean and peaceful, female only ward for breast surgical patients with a dedicated and highly specialised nursing team, skilled in caring for the specific needs of women undergoing Oncoplastic breast surgery.
Oncoplastic Breast Surgery
Oncoplastic Breast Surgery is the new gold standard in the modern surgical treatment of the breast and brings together the most effective cancer treatment with the best possible cosmetic outcome.
Oncoplastic Breast Surgeons are qualified to provide expertise in cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and can perform surgery that incorporates therapeutic, reconstructive and cosmetic breast surgery when indicated.
Referrals to the Breast Care Service
You can either be referred directly from your GP for diagnosis and treatment under the two-week urgent referral protocol, or through the Cornwall NHS Breast Screening Programme.
GPs referring to the service
For urgent referrals, please fax a copy of the referral to the central referrals office on 01872 252300.
For non-urgent referrals, you can refer your patient to the Mermaid Centre using the ‘Choose and Book’ system.
Any new palpable breast lump which is suspicious of breast cancer
Any lump associated with nipple or skin changes
Any new skin dimple
Skin changes characteristic of peau d’orange
Mammographic abnormality suspicious of cancer.
Suspicion of inflammatory breast cancer or persistent mastitis / abscess.
Nipple changes / discharge:
Blood-stained nipple discharge
Clear nipple discharge
Nipple eczema suspicious of Paget’s disease
Nipple retraction or distortion of recent onset.
Suspected male breast cancer:
Non-tender breast lump in a male (male breast cancer does occur: 0.2% of all breast cancers).
Recurrent breast cysts in a patient with a past history of benign cysts
Persistent breast tenderness or nodularity
Persistent breast pain not responding to simple pain killers
Non-blood-stained nipple discharge
Tender gynaecomastia in a male.
Family history of breast cancer
One first-degree relative* diagnosed with breast cancer under 40 (or under 45 for chemoprevention studies)
Two or more first or second-degree relatives
One or more first-degree relatives with bilateral breast cancer.
(* a first-degree relative can be a mother, father, sister or daughter, and a second degree relative can be an aunt, grandmother or granddaughter)
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
Hotjar sets this cookie to detect the first pageview session of a user. This is a True/False flag set by the cookie.
Hotjar sets this cookie to identify a new user’s first session. It stores a true/false value, indicating whether it was the first time Hotjar saw this user.
Hotjar sets this cookie to know whether a user is included in the data sampling defined by the site's pageview limit.
Hotjar sets this cookie to know whether a user is included in the data sampling defined by the site's daily session limit.
To determine the most generic cookie path that has to be used instead of the page hostname, Hotjar sets the _hjTLDTest cookie to store different URL substring alternatives until it fails.
16 years 4 months
These cookies are set via embedded YouTube videos. They register anonymous statistical data on, for example, how many times the video is displayed and what settings are used for playback. No sensitive data is collected unless you log in to your Google account, in that case your choices are linked with your account, for example if you click “like” on a video.
Vimeo installs this cookie to collect tracking information by setting a unique ID to embed videos to the website.