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15 November, 2017

  • National HPV Vaccination Program
  • Screening test for cervical cancer
  • Did you know?

15 November, 2017

The underutilisation of pathology testing is widespread, however remains understudied.  Evidence suggests that, on average, the levels of underutilisation in pathology is substantially more prevalent (44.8%) than levels of overutilisation (20.6%).

1 November, 2017

Genetic testing for patients with hereditary mutations predisposing them to breast and/or ovarian cancer will now be listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

26 October, 2017

  • HCO Partner Engagement
  • Digital Engagement
  • Social
  • Newsletter
  • International Pathology Day, 15 November 2017

31 August, 2017

  • Trial with Outpatient Clinics
  • Trial with General Practice
  • Media coverage of Pathology

27 April, 2017

Update for pathology laboratories

Due to the complexity of assimilating and migrating data from eight state and territory cancer registers into one register, the start date for Australia’s first National Cancer Screening Register and the renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program is now 1 December 2017.

As we transition, laboratories will be notified when cervical screening test results are to be sent to the National Cancer Screening Register and when to cease sending results to the State and Territory registers. The Australian Department of Health and Telstra Health are working as one team to deliver the National Cancer Screening Register committed to delivering a high quality register to safely support the 11 million Australians participating in the cervical and bowel screening programs.

Connecting to the National Cancer Screening Register

Laboratories wishing to connect to the NCSR by go live date must apply by August 2017. The Provider Integration Guide is a technical document that will support your technical team in developing the National Cancer Screening Register interface.

Features of the National Cancer Screening Register for laboratories

  • Provision of statistical data for calculating performance measures.
  • Search function for authorised laboratory staff to manually search for patient screening histories where required and for quality assurance data


  • A dedicated pathology contact will be the liaison for technical and transition queries in the transition to the new National Register.

Email (for all enquiries):

31 March, 2017

The seventh issue of the PITUS Update newsletter is now available. This newsletter provides the latest news on the Pathology Information, Terminology and Units Standardisation (PITUS-15-16) project.

Download PITUS Update Issue 7 newsletter.

To learn more about the Pathology Terminology and Information Standardisation project please visit the RCPA web site, click here.

17 February, 2017

The RCPA Board of Directors is proposing changes to the College Constitution to be considered by Fellows at the AGM later this year. The changes relate to the use of post-nominals, the ability of the College to discipline members and the ability of the College to notify regulatory authorities of issues relating to membership. Please follow this link to read a Communique from the President regarding the proposed changes. If you have queries or concerns regarding the communique, please contact Dr Debra Graves, CEO at

9 January, 2017

Information relating to the value of Pathology can be viewed at the these links; Value of Pathology 1 and Value of Pathology 2.

24 October, 2016

While survival for people with breast cancer in Australia is among the highest in the world, there is evidence that not all patients are receiving the most appropriate care.  This unwarranted variation has the potential to have an impact on patient outcomes and experience, as well as use of health resources.

To address this variation and support improved and informed practice in breast cancer, Cancer Australia has led the development of a landmark Statement.  The Cancer Australia Statement – Influencing best practice in breast cancer identifies 12 appropriate and inappropriate practices in breast cancer from diagnosis to palliative care, highlighting what ‘ought to be done’ in breast cancer care to maximise clinical benefit, minimise harm, and deliver patient-centred care.

The release of the Statement represents the culmination of a rigorous evidence review and prioritisation process.  Cancer Australia brought all key clinical and cancer organisations together with women affected by breast cancer to agree the priority areas of practice. The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) was a key contributor to this important body of work from the outset, participating as a member of the Breast Cancer Expert Group that developed the Statement.

The Statement encourages health professionals to reflect on their clinical practice to ensure it is aligned with the evidence and delivers value to patients and the health system.  It also aims to empower people with breast cancer to engage with their health professionals and make informed, evidence-based decisions that deliver the best outcomes for them.  All practices should be considered in the context of clinical judgement for an individual patient.

Importantly, the resulting Statement is not only underpinned by evidence, but has the support of all key clinical, cancer and consumer organisations.  The collaboration and multidisciplinary approach that was central to the development of the Statement will continue to play a key role in its implementation.

“There are a number of practices in the Cancer Australia Statement that are of particular relevance to our membership,” said Professor Michael Harrison, RCPA President.

“RCPA looks forward to continuing to work with Cancer Australia to identify optimal approaches to promote awareness and drive uptake of the Statement.”

For more information on the Cancer Australia Statement – Influencing best practice in breast cancer and to access supporting resources, visit

Cancer Australia Statement – Influencing best practice in breast cancer

  1. Appropriate to offer genetic counselling to women with a high familial risk, at or around the time that they are diagnosed with breast cancer, with a view to genetic testing to inform decision making about treatment.
  2. Appropriate to ensure optimal fixation of breast cancer specimens for accurate pathological examination and biomarker assessment.
  3. Appropriate to consider and discuss fertility and family planning with premenopausal women before they undergo breast cancer treatment.
  4. Appropriate to offer a choice of either breast-conserving surgery followed by radiotherapy or a mastectomy to patients diagnosed with early breast cancer, because these treatments are equally effective in terms of survival.
  5. Appropriate to offer a shorter, more intense course of radiotherapy (hypofractionated radiotherapy) as an alternative to conventional radiotherapy for patients with early breast cancer who:
    1. are aged 50 years and over;
    2. have a cancer at an early pathological stage (T1-2, N0, M0); and
    3. have undergone breast-conserving surgery with clear surgical margins.
  6. Appropriate to offer patients with early breast cancer the opportunity for their follow-up care to be shared between a specialist and a primary care physician, to provide more accessible, whole-person care.
  7. Appropriate to offer palliative care early in the management of patients with symptomatic, metastatic breast cancer to improve symptom control and quality of life.
  8. Appropriate to consider the pre-operative use of chemotherapy or hormonal therapy (systemic, neo-adjuvant therapy) informed by hormone and HER2 receptor status, for all patients where these therapies are clinically indicated.
  9. Not appropriate to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of breast cancer without first undertaking the triple test, which involves:
    1. taking a patient history and clinical breast examination;
    2. imaging tests (mammogram and/or ultrasound); and
    3. biopsy to remove tissue or cells for examination.
  10. Not appropriate to offer a sentinel node biopsy to patients diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) having breast-conserving surgery, unless clinically indicated.
  11. Not appropriate to perform a mastectomy without first discussing with the patient the options of immediate or delayed breast reconstruction.
  12. Not appropriate to perform intensive testing (full blood count, biochemistry or tumour markers) or imaging (chest X-ray, PET, CT and radionuclide bone scans) as part of standard follow-up of patients who have been treated for early breast cancer and who are not experiencing symptoms.

Download full Statement on Influencing best practice in breast cancer:

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