Important information

A person with a suspected breast cancer should be referred to a breast or general surgeon who is a member of a breast cancer multidisciplinary team.

All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.


What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in any part of the breast. Most breast cancers start in the breast lobules or ducts. Graphic of a human body highlighting the right breast.


What tests are needed?

Common tests used to diagnose breast cancer include:

  • physical examination
  • blood tests
  • imaging - mammogram, ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI scan
  • biopsy.


What treatment options are there?

Treatment for breast cancer may include one or more of the following:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • radiotherapy
  • hormone therapy.

If treatment is specialised and complex, patients may need to travel to have part of their treatment. The local health district will have an arrangement in place for this.


How common is breast cancer in NSW?

Breast cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 2015
    5658 people in NSW
  • 2014
    5666 people in NSW
  • 2013
    5518 people in NSW
Data source: Cancer statistics NSW portal (sourced from Institute Data Warehouse, Cancer Institute NSW. Available at:

Last updated: 22 February 2019

Better cancer care

Better cancer care

Every person with cancer should have their care overseen by a specialist on a multidisciplinary team.

Breast cancer pathway

The nationally recognised optimal care pathway for breast cancer management in Australia.
Quick reference guide
Optimal care pathway