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.
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|
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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.
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Practical advice and support during and after treatment