Patsy Whelehan

Patsy is a diagnostic radiographer by training, and a specialist in mammography and breast screening since 1997. She gained a Masters degree in radiography in 2003. She has previously worked as a mammography clinical educator and postgraduate course director, as a clinical manager (superintendent radiographer), and as regional breast screening quality assurance radiographer for London. Patsy moved to the University of Dundee in late 2009 to conduct breast imaging research, both independently and as a co-investigator and trial manager for Prof Andy Evans. Patsy is currently a member of the Westminster government’s Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening and the UK NHS breast screening mammography quality assurance group. She is a trustee and conference committee member of Symposium Mammographicum ( )

Patsy’s part-time PhD by Portfolio at St Andrews is centred on investigations of women’s experiences of mammography and their effect on re-attendance for mammographic breast screening. The work is in three stages: 1. a systematic review (completed and published) confirming that mammographic pain is one contributor to non-re-attendance; 2. a qualitative exploration of women’s experiences of mammography (due for completion in Summer/Autumn 2014); 3. development and validation of quantitative measures of the client experience of mammography.  In future, these measures will be used to identify key targets for interventions to improve women’s experiences of mammography, to inform the design of such interventions, and to measure their effectiveness.


  1. Whelehan P, Evans A, Wells M, MacGillivray S. The effect of mammography pain on repeat participation in breast cancer screening: A systematic review. Breast. 2013;22(4):389-94.
  2. Whelehan P. Mammography. In: Ramlaul A, Vosper M, editors. Patient Centred Care in Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2013. p. 205-10.
  3. Vinnicombe SJ, Whelehan P, Thomson K, McLean D, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, et al. What are the characteristics of breast cancers misclassified as benign by quantitative ultrasound shear wave elastography? European Radiology. 2013:1-6.
  4. Mullen R, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, McLean D, Whelehan P, Vinnicombe SJ, et al. Can additional histopathological examination of ultrasound-guided axillary lymph node core biopsies improve preoperative diagnosis of primary breast cancer nodal metastasis? Clinical radiology. 2013;68(7):704-7.
  5. Evans A, Rauchhaus P, Whelehan P, Thomson K, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, et al. Does shear wave ultrasound independently predict axillary lymph node metastasis in women with invasive breast cancer? Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2013:1-5.
  6. Evans A, Armstrong S, Whelehan P, Thomson K, Rauchhaus P, Purdie C, et al. Can shear-wave elastography predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in women with invasive breast cancer? British Journal of Cancer. 2013;109(11):2798-802.
  7. Elsberger B, Romsauerova A, Vinnicombe SJ, Whelehan P, Brown DC, Dewar JA, et al. Comparison of mammographic findings after intraoperative radiotherapy or external beam whole breast radiotherapy. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2013.
  8. Michell MJ, Iqbal A, Wasan RK, Evans DR, Peacock C, Lawinski CP, et al. A comparison of the accuracy of film-screen mammography, full-field digital mammography, and digital breast tomosynthesis. Clinical radiology. 2012;67(10):976-81.
  9. Macaskill EJ, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, McLean D, Whelehan P, Brown DC, et al. Axillary lymph node core biopsy for breast cancer metastases – How many needle passes are enough? Clinical radiology. 2012;67(5):417-9.
  10. Hipwell JH, Griffin LD, Whelehan PJ, Song W, Zhang X, Lesniak JM, et al. Characterizing breast phenotype with a novel measure of fibroglandular structure. 2012. p. 181-8.
  11. Evans A, Whelehan P, Thomson K, McLean D, Brauer K, Purdie C, et al. Invasive breast cancer: Relationship between shear-wave elastographic findings and histologic prognostic factors. Radiology. 2012;263(3):673-7.
  12. Evans A, Whelehan P, Thomson K, Brauer K, Jordan L, Purdie C, et al. Differentiating benign from malignant solid breast masses: Value of shear wave elastography according to lesion stiffness combined with greyscale ultrasound according to BI-RADS classification. British Journal of Cancer. 2012;107(2):224-9.
  13. Dance DR, Strudley CJ, Young KC, Oduko JM, Whelehan PJ, Lindsay Mungutroy EH. Comparison of breast doses for digital tomosynthesis estimated from patient exposures and using PMMA breast phantoms. 2012. p. 316-21.
  14. Evans A, Whelehan P. Breast screening policy: Are we heading in the right direction? Clinical radiology. 2011;66(10):915-9.
  15. Beral V, Alexander M, Duffy S, Ellis IO, Given-Wilson R, Holmberg L, et al. The number of women who would need to be screened regularly by mammography to prevent one death from breast cancer. Journal of Medical Screening. 2011;18(4):210-2.
  16. Omar L, Burgess CC, Tucker LD, Whelehan P, Ramirez AJ. Can radiographers be trained to deliver an intervention to raise breast cancer awareness, and thereby promote early presentation of breast cancer, in older women? Radiography. 2010;16(2):101-7.
  17. Evans A, Whelehan P, Thomson K, McLean D, Brauer K, Purdie C, et al. Quantitative shear wave ultrasound elastography: Initial experience in solid breast masses. Breast Cancer Research. 2010;12(6).
  18. Burgess CC, Linsell L, Kapari M, Omar L, Michell M, Whelehan P, et al. Promoting early presentation of breast cancer by older women: A preliminary evaluation of a one-to-one health professional-delivered intervention. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2009;67(5):377-87.
  19. Burgess CC, Bish AM, Hunter HS, Salkovskis P, Michell M, Whelehan P, et al. Promoting early presentation of breast cancer: Development of a psycho-educational intervention. Chronic Illness. 2008;4(1):13-27.

Current teaching

Patsy occasionally teaches medical students at the University of Dundee about breast screening and has recently helped facilitate an interprofessional learning seminar in the College of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing.