Your health care team
You may be recalled for further tests after a screening mammogram or your general practitioner (GP) will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist breast service for further tests.
If breast cancer is diagnosed, you will first see a breast surgeon, or in some cases a medical oncologist, who will consider your treatment options. Often these will be discussed with other health professionals at what is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting.
To find cancer specialists, multidisciplinary teams and hospitals in NSW or ACT, you can visit the NSW Government website CanRefer.
During and after treatment, you will see a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care. You may not need to see all members of the MDT.
|GP||assists you with treatment decisions and works in partnership with your specialists in providing ongoing care|
|breast physician*||diagnoses breast cancer and coordinates treatment for breast cancer in some clinics|
|breast surgeon*||assesses breast changes; performs breast surgery and biopsies; some breast surgeons also perform breast reconstruction and plastic surgery procedures (known as an oncoplastic breast surgeon)|
|reconstructive (plastic) surgeon*||performs breast reconstruction after mastectomy|
|radiation oncologist*||treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy|
|medical oncologist*||treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy (systemic treatment)|
|radiologist*||analyses x-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds and other scans|
|radiographer||performs x-rays, mammograms and other scans|
|breast care nurse||provides breast cancer care; also provides information and referrals during and after treatment|
|nurse||administers drugs and provides care, information and support throughout treatment|
|anaesthetist*||administers anaesthetic before surgery and monitors you during the operation|
|plans and delivers radiation therapy|
|pathologist*||examines cells and tissue samples that are removed from the breast to work out the type and extent of the cancer|
|assist with physical and practical problems, including restoring movement and mobility after treatment, and recommending aids and equipment|
|prescribes exercise to help people with medical conditions improve their overall health, fitness, strength and energy levels|
|educates people about lymphoedema prevention and management, and provides treatment if lymphoedema occurs; often a physiotherapist|
|social worker||links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical or financial issues|
|dietitian||recommends an eating plan to follow during treatment and recovery|
|help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment|
|provides advice for people with a strong family history of breast cancer or with a genetic condition linked to breast cancer|
Prof Bruce Mann, Professor of Surgery, The University of Melbourne, and Director, Breast Tumour Stream, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Marie Burke, Radiation Oncologist, and Medical Director GenesisCare Oncology, QLD; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Ruth Groom, Consumer; Julie McGirr, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; A/Prof Catriona McNeil, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Dr Roya Merie, Staff Specialist, Radiation Oncology, Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Hospital, NSW; Dr Eva Nagy, Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Sydney Oncoplastic Surgery, NSW; Gay Refeld, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Breast Care, St John of God Subiaco Hospital, WA; Genny Springham, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment