What you need to know

It is recommended that you:

  • See a breast surgeon who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
  • All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is cancer that occurs in any part of the breast. This can include the breast lobules or ducts. Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast become abnormal. These cells divide and grow to form a cancer.


Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment?

If your GP suspects you have breast cancer, they will refer you to a breast surgeon.

The breast surgeon should:

  • have experience treating breast cancer
  • be an active member of a multidisciplinary team

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

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests do I need?

You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose breast cancer. The most common tests are:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging - mammogram, ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI scan
  • Biopsy

What treatment will I have?

Treatment for breast cancer may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:

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

Where will I have treatment?

You may need to travel to have a part of your treatment. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.

You may be able to have parts of your treatment closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating specialist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

How common is breast cancer in NSW?

Breast cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 5050
    People in NSW in 2012
  • 4819
    People in NSW in 2011
  • 4742
    People in NSW in 2010

Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Questions for your specialist

Find out some key questions to ask your specialist at your first appointment.

Questions you can ask
Booklet about breast cancer

Understanding Breast Cancer is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW