Join our research team

Jul 11, 2016 at 12:25

We are looking for a CLINICAL DATA MANAGER

To coordinate clinical trials and maintain our breast cancer audit database

 Position overview

This position primarily involves coordinating a number of trials related to breast cancer and maintaining a breast cancer audit data base.  The work is varied and provides the opportunity for you to further develop your research skills in a supportive office environment. Training and supervision will be provided.

  • Located in North Sydney
  • Permanent 0.8 FTE role, with normal office hours
  • Remuneration according to experience and expertise.

Duty statement and application information 

Apply now!

Closing date:

5pm Monday 31 October 2016.

For further information, contact:

Dr Kathy Flitcroft

Phone: 9911 7312


Conference presentations

Nov 17, 2015 at 07:41

A/Prof Andrew Spillane and Dr Kathy Flitcroft attended the first World Congress on Controversies in Breast Cancer (CoBRA) in Melbourne on October 22-24, 2015.  The CoBRA congress dealt with controversial issues in aspects of breast cancer care, with presentations, debates and discussions. It provided a forum for key opinion leaders to effectively debate unresolved clinical and therapeutic dilemmas. Speakers included respected local, national and international leaders in breast cancer research. Professor Spillane participated in one debate on surgical management of the axilla in the setting of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. He Chaired another session on oncoplastic technique in breast conservation surgery. Dr Flitcroft presented a poster about access to breast reconstruction across Australia.

Meet our 2015 Surgical Fellow Dr Farhad (Fred) Azimi

Aug 16, 2015 at 08:23

Dr Azimi is a Post-Fellowship trainee in Breast Surgery with Breast Surgeons ANZ and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

After completing his medical training at the University of NSW in 2002, he embarked on Junior Surgical Training at Westmead and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals. He carried out his Senior General Surgical Training at Prince of Wales, St George and Liverpool hospitals, obtaining his General Surgical Fellowship in 2013. During his training period he completed a Masters of Surgery in University of Sydney with a focus on Surgical Oncology.

His interests are Breast and Melanoma Surgery.

Fred says “I am very privileged to be working with such a fantastic and dedicated team with such a strong research focus this year at the Poche Centre. While in the unit I am building on clinical skills in Breast and Melanoma Surgery and carrying out research in these areas.

“With the assistance of Prof Andrew Spillane and other researchers in the unit, I am carrying out a randomised controlled trial evaluating the use of low level laser to treat capsular contracture in women who have had implant based reconstruction for breast cancer. Capsular contracture is a complication of breast implant surgery which results in tough and sometimes painful tissue developing around breast implants. We aim to find the efficacy of laser in treating this distressing problem and see if it could be a viable treatment.”

Read about other Fellows

Thank you to The Friends of the Mater Foundation

Dec 23, 2014 at 11:13

Much of our current research is supported by the generosity of The Friends of the Mater Foundation.

Read more about our research on The Friends of the Mater website.

Read about the Foundation’s support for Surgical Oncology.

Meet Dr Gillian Lamoury

Nov 13, 2014 at 12:08

Radiation Oncologist Dr Gillian Lamoury has joined our practice. She specialises in innovative radiotherapy techniques for breast cancer.

Read her profile.

A/Prof Andrew Spillane is President of BreastSurgANZ

Sep 13, 2014 at 09:39

A/Prof Spillane took on the Presidency of BreastSurgANZ in May 2014. He has previously held the position of Vice President and he was the Founding Secretary/Treasurer when the Society was established in 2010.

BreastSurgANZ (Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand) is the peak body representing surgeons treating breast cancer in Australia and New Zealand. BreastSurgANZ members manage about 90% of early breast cancer cases in Australasia.

A/Prof Spillane’s goals as President include

  • promoting the growth of oncoplastic breast surgery
  • improving educational opportunities to training breast surgeons and members
  • reviewing Medicare item numbers relating to breast cancer treatment, breast reconstruction and oncoplastic surgery
  • improving services to its members
  • ensuring the continuation of the BreastSurgANZ Quality Audit

A/Prof Spillane will hold the position of President for a 3-year term.

For more information, see the BreastSurgAnz website.

Breast reconstruction

Aug 20, 2014 at 08:05

Our rate of breast reconstruction after mastectomy is among the highest in the world. Our surgeons have recently published the results of their review of women having a mastectomy for cancer or DCIS (pre-cancer) at our centre.  This showed that over a 3-year period from 2009-2011, 41% of women had a breast reconstruction after their mastectomy.  In some centres around the world, the rate can be as low as 5%. Rates up to 80% have been reported, but only when women who are older or had more advanced cancer were excluded.

A/Prof  Andrew Spillane, the senior author of the paper says “We are very proud of our rate of breast reconstruction.  We believe that nearly every woman who has a mastectomy could have a breast reconstruction if she wanted to.  We offer it to every woman when it is safe to do so and we find that around half decide to take up the offer.

Asked why the rates are so low in some hospitals, A/Prof Spillane said ”Breast reconstruction may not be locally available in smaller centres or in rural areas. These women can still be offered reconstruction as some may be willing to travel or to have a delayed breast reconstruction after the cancer treatment. However, often this discussion and referral doesn’t happen.”

“Another reason why many women don’t get the opportunity to have a reconstruction is that some cancer surgeons mistakenly believe that it is not safe to do reconstruction when radiotherapy is needed after the mastectomy,” A/Prof Spillane explains.  “We have a lot of experience with using tissue expander and silicone implant reconstruction when radiotherapy is needed. There is a higher chance of implant-related complications and sometimes the cosmetic result from the reconstruction is not as good as it would have been if radiotherapy wasn’t given.  We find that many women are willing to accept this and we believe that they should not be denied immediate breast reconstruction if they want to go ahead,” he says.

At our Surgical Oncology centre, we strongly believe that the reconstructive options should be talked about with every women who needs or chooses to have a mastectomy.  In a small number of cases it may not be safe to do immediate breast reconstruction and of course not all women will want to have breast reconstruction, but the discussion should  always happen,”  A/Prof Spillane says. “Women, not surgeons, should make the choice.”

Read abstract

Our surgeons present at Singapore meeting

Aug 17, 2014 at 10:43

A/Prof Andrew Spillane and Dr Kylie Snook presented at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting in Singapore in May 2014.

Slides from selected presentations are available to view.

A/Prof Andrew Spillane

Melanoma Surgical Clinical Trials Update: ‘MSLT1, MSLT2 and others. Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting Singapore 2014. See presentation: Stage 3 Clinical Trials in Melanoma Patients 2014 Spillane

Management of the Axilla in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer. Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting Singapore 2014. See presentation: Mx Axilla in LABC Singapore 2014 Spillane

Breast Surgery Training in Australia and New Zealand. Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting Singapore 2014. See presentation: Breast Surgeon Training in ANZ ASM 2014 Spillane

Dr Kylie Snook

Benign Phyllodes Tumours. Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting Singapore 2014.

More presentations

Warning about thermography

Aug 15, 2014 at 11:38

Dr Meagan Brennan has published a research article that shows thermography is very unreliable for detecting breast cancer.

Thermography is an imaging test that uses a thermal camera to produce a ‘heat map’ of the breast.

The research was a systematic review of 17 studies of thermography.

There were three types of studies included in the review and these looked at the accuracy of thermography in different clinical settings.

1. Studies that looked at the ability of thermography to find breast cancer in a women without symptoms: These showed a sensitivity (percentage of true cancers detected by the test) of 47% for thermography. The false postive rate (percentage of cases without breast cancer that showed an abnormal thermogram) was 31%. (As a comparison, the sensitivity of mammographic screening is over 90% and the false positive rate is around 5%.)

2. Studies that looked at the ability of thermography to find breast cancer in women with symptoms of breast cancer or with an abnormal mammogram.  Sensitivity was 59%.

3. Studies that looked at the ability of thermography to predict the risk of developing breast cancer in the future. None of these studies showed an association with an abnormal thermogram and future breast cancer.

The conclusions of the research were that thermography should not be used in clinical practice because:

-Thermography is not reliable enough in detecting breast cancer as it will miss 53% of breast cancers in the screening setting.

-Thermography can cause unnecessary alarm by giving a false positive result in around one third of women.

The following Australian organisations have recommended against the use of thermography:


Brennan M, Houssami N. Thermography in breast cancer diagnosis, screening and risk assessment: systematic review. Breast Cancer Management (2013):2(2);163-172.


Read the article Abstract (summary).

The full text pdf is available from the journal website. For copyright reasons, it cannot be posted on our website.

Copies can also be requested (without charge) from Dr Meagan Brennan

Join our research team

Jun 14, 2014 at 01:28

We are seeking a DATA MANAGER/RESEARCH NURSE at Breast & Surgical Oncology at The Poche Centre. See Job description and application information