New tools for GPs to improve breast cancer diagnosis and care

Release Date

Cancer Australia has released a range of new tools and learning modules to support health professionals in primary care in the effective and accurate investigation of breast cancer symptoms and the implementation of evidence-based practices in breast cancer care.

Today’s release of the newly updated edition of The investigation of a new breast symptom: a guide for General Practitioners (the Guide) will support up to date best practice breast cancer investigation, diagnosis and referral.

The Investigation of a new breast symptom: a guide for General Practitioners details the triple test, which is the recommended approach to investigating new breast symptoms. The triple test involves patient history and clinical breast examination; mammography and/or ultrasound imaging; and the use of non-excisional biopsy.

“The triple test is more accurate at detecting breast cancer than any of the individual tests alone, and when performed appropriately, will detect over 99.6% of breast cancers,” Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO, Cancer Australia, said

“Breast cancer is estimated to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2021, with 20,030 new cases (19,866 females and 164 males) of breast cancer diagnosed. Timely and accurate diagnosis and referral is vital to improved outcomes.”

“More than half of all breast cancers are found as a result of a change in the breast detected by the woman or her doctor, so it is very important to underpin any investigation using the latest evidence-based Guide,” said Professor Keefe. 

The evidence-based Guide provides a systematic, stepwise, triple test approach to the investigation of symptoms that could be breast cancer.  It was informed by a review of the evidence together with expert consensus opinion.

The Guide has been officially recognised as an Accepted Clinical Resource by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Cancer Australia, in collaboration with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, (ACRRM) has also released three updated breast cancer online learning modules for rural and remote health professionals working in primary care to support up to date best practice breast cancer care.

The modules present the latest information on breast cancer diagnosis and management through an engaging and user-friendly learning experience, encouraging primary care health professionals to implement evidence-based practices when caring for people affected by breast cancer across the cancer care continuum.

While the courses are targeted at rural and remote health professionals, the key clinical messaging is relevant to all primary care health professionals.

Each course is accredited with 1 educational activity hour as part of ACRRM’s Professional Development Program. The breast cancer courses are available free of charge via Cancer Australia’s Cancer Learning platform or via ACRRM Online Learning.