The world-class Breast Service at the Women's is part of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Breast Tumour Stream working alongside specialist teams at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Services of the Breast Tumour Stream include diagnosis and management of breast cancer and pre-cancerous diseases through to surgery, reconstruction and medical and radiation oncology.
At the Women’s, we focus on the initial assessment and diagnosis, breast and reconstructive surgery, and supportive care of women through their breast cancer journey.
- Breast symptom assessment and management
- Breast imaging
- Breast cancer surgery
- Medical oncology
- Radiation oncology (in association with external providers)
- Supportive care
A breast reconstruction service is available to eligible women after breast cancer diagnosis. This service includes education and support to empower decision making.
A referral to the Breast Service from a General Practitioner or other doctor.
Cosmetic breast surgery
The Breast Service also has outpatient clinics at The Royal Melbourne Hospital on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. Patients referred to the Breast Service will be offered the next available appropriate appointment, which may be at the Women’s or at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Referrals are accepted on the basis of a GPs judgement. It is often appropriate for some imaging to be done prior to referral, including bilateral mammography for most patients over 40, and an ultrasound of a symptomatic area. Many presentations and imaging findings can be managed in general practice without referral to the Breast Service.
Urgent referrals, where cancer is, or is likely to be the diagnosis, will generally be seen within one week. Less urgent referrals will generally be seen within one month. Triaging will be made on the basis of the referral, although phone calls are welcome for discussion of specific cases.
Please complete and fax the Fast Fax Referral form.
Please provide copies of the results of any recent mammography and breast ultrasound, as well as any biopsies. Patients must bring along copies of any mammograms and ultrasounds (films or CDs).
Please mark the fax referral as urgent or call the Breast Fellow or Breast Care Nurse on our direct line.
An acknowledgement letter will be sent directly to the patient and the GP will be notified. The patient will then receive a letter with the appointment details.
Follow-up care for women with early breast cancer
The Combined Breast Service of The Royal Women's Hospital and The Royal Melbourne Hospital has introduced a new model of care for women with early breast cancer.
The new model of survivorship care involves:
- Women having a consultation with a Breast Care Nurse to look at ongoing issues and concerns some time after the end of definitive treatment for early breast cancer
- Development of a tailored Follow-Up Care Plan for each woman based on her needs (including a diagnosis and treatment summary, health and wellbeing plan, recommended schedule for follow-up visits, and information on arranging imaging and contacting the Breast Service if required)
- Development of a well-supported shared care arrangement with a woman’s GP - this includes active communication with GPs, agreement on roles and responsibilities, and an easy to follow schedule of follow-up visits with streamlined and rapid access to specialist care if required
- Enhancing systems to share information between a woman, her GP, other community services and the hospital.
During shared follow-up care, the woman will generally be seen by the hospital Breast Service once per year for to the first five years – this visit includes a mammogram at The Royal Melbourne or Royal Women’s Hospital (at no cost). Alternate appointments are with the GP. Beyond five years, we ask her GP to arrange mammograms - these can be done at RMH to provide continuity or if local imaging is preferred, a disc of the two most recent mammograms can be requested by the woman/GP for comparison.
The Breast Service works in partnership with GPs to improve quality of care and wellbeing following treatment for early breast cancer.
Breast reconstruction using a DIEP flap
This fact sheet is for women who are having a breast reconstruction using a deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap, or are considering having a DIEP flap reconstruction. It explains what the reconstruction involves, and what to expect before and after the operation.
- Breast reconstruction using a DIEP flap
Breast reconstruction using a LD flap
This fact sheet is for women who are having a breast reconstruction using a latissimus dorsi (LD) flap, or are considering having a LD flap reconstruction. It explains what the reconstruction involves, and what to expect before and after the operation.
- Breast reconstruction using a LD flap
Breast reconstruction using a TUG flap
This fact sheet is for women who are having a breast reconstruction using a transverse upper gracilis (TUG) flap, or are considering having a TUG flap reconstruction. It explains what the reconstruction involves, and what to expect before and after the operation.
- Breast reconstruction using a TUG flap
Breast reconstruction: total mastectomy & insertion of a tissue expander (plastics)
This fact sheet is for women who have chosen to have a breast reconstruction with an implant. It explains what to expect after a total mastectomy and insertion of a tissue expander (plastics) as well as aspects of your post-operative care.
- Breast reconstruction: total mastectomy & insertion of a tissue expander (plastics)
Breast reconstruction: caring for yourself after your breast implant has been exchanged
This fact sheet outlines the steps to follow when caring for yourself after your breast implant has been exchanged. The implant may be a tissue expander exchanged for a permanent prosthesis; or a permanent prosthesis exchanged for a new permanent prosthesis.
- Breast reconstruction: caring for yourself after your breast implant has been exchanged