The accuracy of "one-stop" diagnosis for 1 110 patients presenting to a symptomatic breast clinic

A Eltahir, J A Jibril, J Squair, S D Heys, A K Ah-See, G Needham, F J Gilbert, H E Deans, M E McKean, L M Smart, O Eremin

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To minimise delay in diagnosis and reduce patient anxiety; triple assessment with immediate reporting has been used in our symptomatic breast clinic since 1991, This article examines the accuracy of the diagnostic modalities used and the efficacy of the "one-stop" diagnostic policy. The data on 1 110 new patients presenting to the symptomatic breast clinic between January and July 1993, were analysed and subsequent three year follow-up and outcome established. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) gave the highest predictive value (97.3 %) with a sensitivity of 93.5% and a specificity of 98.1%. Ultrasonography provided a 97.0% prediction with a sensitivity of 88.9 % and a specificity of 97.4 %, whereas mammography had a prediction of 96.4 % with sensitivity of 93.2 % and a specificity of 96.7%. When the mammogram or ultrasound scan were reported as unequivocally benign (hll), there were no missed cancers. The false positive and false negative rates for FNAC were 0% and 1.4%, respectively. Following assessment, a diagnosis was made in 96% of patients. Sixty-tno percent of the patients were discharged at the first clinic visit. Four breast malignancies were subsequently diagnosed in the discharged group; two with new microcalcifications due to ductal carcinoma in situ, one with invasive disease in a different quadrant of the breast from that originally investigated, and in one patient the cancer was missed. Conclusion: A "one-stop" symptomatic breast clinic provides an accurate and effective means of establishing a correct diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-230
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • breast clinic
  • breast disease
  • mammogram
  • breast ultrasound
  • cytology
  • triple assessment
  • one-stop diagnosis


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