Your health care team
You may be sent for tests after a screening mammogram, or your general practitioner (GP) may arrange tests to check your symptoms. If these tests don’t rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist or breast clinic.
If breast cancer is diagnosed, you’ll see a breast surgeon or a medical oncologist, who will talk to you about your treatment options. Often these will be discussed with other health professionals at 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 see all members of the MDT.
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*||performs breast surgery and biopsies; some breast surgeons also perform breast reconstruction; oncoplastic breast surgeons specialise in using plastic surgery techniques to reconstruct breast tissue after surgery|
|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*||assesses your health before the operation, administers anaesthetic and looks after you during and after surgery, and plans your pain relief|
|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; is often a physiotherapist|
|social worker||links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical and financial issues|
|dietitian||helps with nutrition concerns and recommends changes to diet 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 for people with a genetic condition linked to cancer|
Podcast for people affected by cancer
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and The University of Sydney, NSW; Collette Butler, Clinical Nurse Consultant and McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Cancer Support Centre, Launceston, TAS; Tania Cercone, Consumer; Kate Cox, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare, SA; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Dr Hilda High, Genetic Oncologist, Sydney Cancer Genetics, NSW; Prof David W Kissane AC, Chair of Palliative Medicine Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Prof Sherene Loi, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr W Kevin Patterson, Medical Oncologist, Adelaide Oncology and Haematology, SA; Angela Thomas, Consumer; Iwa Yeung, Physiotherapist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
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