What is a Breast Physician?

What is a Breast Physician?

Breast physicians are in practice throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, specialising in the diagnosis and management of benign and malignant breast disease, in collaboration with breast surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists and geneticists.

Breast physicians most commonly work in the following settings:

  • private multidisciplinary diagnostic breast clinics;
  • public hospital multidisciplinary breast clinics;
  • national breast screening services;
  • private consulting rooms in collaboration with breast surgeons and breast radiologists.

Breast physicians have an understanding of all the disciplines and processes involved in the diagnosis, management and treatment of breast diseases. In the practice of breast medicine their expertise includes:

  • recognising symptoms and signs of both benign and malignant breast diseases;
  • management of hormonal issues relevant to benign and malignant breast disease;
  • interpretation of imaging modalities (mammography, tomography, breast ultrasound and MRI images);
  • performance of image-guided interventional procedures (fine-needle and core biopsies, vacuum-assisted biopsies and preoperative needle localisations);
  • planning and coordinating surgical management;
  • counselling, particularly in relation to breast cancer diagnosis and risk assessment;
  • surveillance and ongoing care of women who have undergone breast cancer treatment and those at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

What training do Breast Physicians have?

Although historically most Breast Physicians developed their interest in the area of breast disease through General Practice, some have also come via other disciplines.

The ASBP has a structured Training curriculum.We are proud of our Pathway to Fellowship program which was fully updated in 2023 and launched this year. Learning is workplace-based under a supervisor in an apprenticeship model. Assessment is also workplace-based with evidence of progress submitted to the ASBP for review every 6 months in the form of a standardised Learning Portfolio and completed Workplace-based Assessment forms. These include imaging exercises, case-based discussions, and supervisor assessment of clinical and procedural skills.

Membership of the ASBP

Society membership comprises the following categories: Fellows, Associate Members and Trainees (who must be Associate Members).

Fellowship is awarded to those who undertake the ASBP fellowship training program and successfully complete the Assessment Process, thereby demonstrating a high level of skill in clinical knowledge, physical breast examination, imaging interpretation, breast biopsy techniques, counselling and non-surgical treatment of breast-related conditions.

Associate members and Breast Physician Trainees

Breast Physician Trainees are enrolled as Associate members while completing their training.

Medical Practitioners who are currently working in breast-related medicine, but who do not wish to undertake the path to Fellowship, are welcome to join the ASBP as Associate Members.

We look forward to welcoming new members and Breast Physician trainees into the Society, and are eager to hear from you.  Increased membership of the Society will assist in raising the profile and status of all breast physicians, both in the medical and wider communities.