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Detection and Treatment

How can you detect breast cancer? By increasing prevention and early detection of breast cancer you can reduce its impact.

Researcher with puzzle pieces

Early detection is key to saving lives from breast cancer. The earlier the cancer diagnosis, the decreased risk of the cancer spreading which increases survival rates.

Physical Exam

If you notice any changes in your breast, no matter how small you might think it is, it’s always best to consult your GP who will first perform a physical examination of both breasts. They will thoroughly check around your breasts and find out more about your medical history and any family history of breast cancer before deciding the next steps.


This is the most common way to test for breast cancer, which is an X-ray of the breast. If an abnormality is detected on a screening, your doctor may request a biopsy of breast tissue to further investigate. Once women turn 40 years of age, they will get annual mammograms to check for breast cancer.


An ultrasound creates images of the deep tissues in your breast which can help your doctor determine whether a solid mass is a tumour, or a benign cyst.


A biopsy is the only definitive way to diagnose breast cancer. Biopsy samples are sent to the laboratory for analysis, which determines if the cells are cancerous and the type of breast cancer they are dealing with.


Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for you depending on the type of breast cancer you are diagnosed with, its stage and grade, size and whether the cells are sensitive to hormones.

Most women will undergo surgery for breast cancer and also receive additional treatment after surgery, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation. In some situations, chemotherapy may be used before surgery. There are various ways to treat breast cancer:

Macey and mum Fiona with breast cancer


There are various operations to treat breast cancer including:

  • Removing the breast cancer (lumpectomy)
  • Removing the entire breast (mastectomy)
  • Removing a limited number of lymph nodes (sentinel node biopsy)
  • Removing several lymph nodes (axillary lymph node dissection)
  • Removing both breasts

The Breast Cancer Research Unit (BCRU) at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, led by Professor Andreas Evdokiou, aims to identify therapies that will be effective in the breast as well as metastatic sites such as the bone.

Research to revolutionise breast cancer treatment is underway to save more lives from this heartbreaking disease.

Sarah Pedler breast cancer diagnosis

BreastScreen Australia is a joint initiative of the Australian and state and territory governments and aims to reduce illness and death from breast cancer by detecting the disease early.

Women over 40 can have a free mammogram every two years and women aged between 50 and 74 are strongly encouraged to screen.


Read more about the current research into treatment for breast cancer

Breast cancer stock

Current Research

We are proud to support breast cancer research across the disease lifespan from prevention, detection, management and treatment.

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