Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

What is Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the breast. It occurs when abnormal cells in the breast begin to grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a tumour. Breast cancer can affect both women and men, though it occurs much less commonly in men.

Breast Cancer is a complex type of cancer and can be broken up into several different categories:

  1. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): DCIS is considered a non-invasive breast cancer, where abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct but have not spread beyond it. It is often detected through mammograms and is highly treatable when caught early.
  2. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): This is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for about 80% of all cases. IDC starts in the milk ducts of the breast and can invade the surrounding breast tissues. It has the potential to spread to other parts of the body if not treated.
  3. Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS): LCIS is also a non-invasive condition where abnormal cells are found in the lobules (milk-producing glands) of the breast. It is not considered a true cancer but is considered a risk factor for developing invasive breast cancer later.
  4. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): ILC starts in the lobules and can spread to nearby tissues in the breast and potentially other parts of the body.
  5. Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC): IBC is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. It can be difficult to diagnose because it often does not present as a lump, but rather causes the breast to appear swollen, red, and inflamed.

The Irish Cancer Registry reports between the years of 2017- 2019 that there was 3507 occurrences of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in Ireland. For more information on the incidence of breast cancer, treatments and outcomes please visit the Irish Cancer Registry.

Your Appointment:

New Referrals: It is likely that you have visited your GP due to a concerning lump or change in appearance in your breast. Your GP, if deemed necessary will refer you onward to our breast care clinic located in the orchid centre on the CUH Wilton Campus. Your referral will be reviewed and triaged based on the information provided by your GP by one of our many expert Consultant Breast Surgeons. An appropriate appointment will be scheduled for you and you will be notified of this appointment by phone or post.


If breast cancer is suspected, further tests, such as breast ultrasound, MRI, or biopsy, are performed to confirm a diagnosis and determine the cancer's stage. Once these tests have been completed all relevant information is gathered and will be discussed in detail at the Breast Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting.

The Breast Cancer MDT is a well-established group of experts with a specialist role in the diagnosis, treatment and management of people with breast cancer. The team comprises Consultants, Nurses and other healthcare professionals who manage the treatment of breast cancers in Cork University Hospital.

The team meets every Thursday to discuss, in confidence, newly referred patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer. The MDT meetings offer a forum for the team members to plan and agree a recommended programme of treatment specific to individual patient needs.

This approach ensures that all necessary investigations are carried out as quickly as possible and the best available treatment is offered. Treatment options are then discussed with the patient and their family at a subsequent outpatient appointment.


Breast cancer treatment varies based on the type, stage, and individual factors. Common treatment options include:

  • Surgery: Removing the tumour and surrounding tissues.
  • Radiation Therapy: Using high-energy rays to target cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Medications to destroy or control cancer cells.
  • Hormone Therapy: Blocking hormones that fuel cancer growth.
  • Targeted Therapy: Drugs targeting specific proteins or genes involved in cancer growth.
  • Immunotherapy: Boosting the body's immune system to fight cancer.

An optimal treatment pathway will be decided at the MDT. Your consultant will then take this information and discuss it with you depth on your return appointment. Time will be given to you to voice any concerns or queries with regards to your treatment plan. Onward appointments will be requested by your consultant once the treatment plan has been agreed.

It is important to remember that breast cancer treatment can include one or more of the treatment options listed above. In some cases a number of treatments can be given separately (one after the other) or together (concurrently).

Meet the team:


  • Professor. H.P. Redmond
  • Professor Martin O’Sullivan
  • Ms Deirdre O’Hanlon
  • Ms Louise Kelly
  • Professor Mark Corrigan
  • Ms Mary Morrogh
  • Ms Edel Quinn

Medical Oncology

  • Professor Roisin Connolly
  • Dr Sinead Noonan

Radiation Oncology

  • Dr. Carol McGibney
  • Dr. Bola Ofi
  • Dr Laura Royo
  • Dr Kathy Rock
  • Professor Aisling Barry

Breast Care Nurses

  • Ms. Margaret Shanahan
  • Ms. Norma Dowling
  • Ms. Evelyn Farrissey
  • Ms. Margaret Burke
  • Clare Green