Update on the management of early-stage breast cancer

This article was first published by the Royal College of General Practitioners in September 2019.



Breast cancer affects one in eight Australian women. While surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and endocrine therapy are still the main treatments, there have been changes in the sequencing of treatment and advances in each therapy. The general practitioner (GP) is involved at each stage of the patient’s journey.



This article discusses the current approach to the management of early breast cancer. It focuses on changes in recent years and discusses the role of the GP in supporting women in their decision-making and treatment.


Key changes include the increasing use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the development of advanced oncoplastic surgery and breast reconstruction techniques, the use of gene expression profiling and the recommendation for extended adjuvant endocrine therapy for up to 10 years.


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