Twenty years ago, two doctors had a vision – to provide comprehensive breast and endocrine care in one location for women and men.
Two decades later, their project is blossoming into a new era as the facility they set up treats 8,000 people annually with an expanding team of specialists.
Dr Clive Hoffmann and Dr Stephen Birrell established the Breast and Endocrine Centre at Adelaide's Burnside Hospital in October 1998, based in the heritage-listed Attunga House.
For the 20th anniversary, which coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they are welcoming three new directors to the practice: Dr Subhita Prasannan, Dr Peter Shin and Dr Andrew Kiu.
Along with the surgeons, the team also includes a breast clinician, a clinical psychiatrist, three Burnside Hospital breast care nurses and four support staff.
“It is remarkable to consider the extent of the care that Doctors Hoffmann and Birrell have provided to the SA community over 20 years and this is a legacy of which my colleagues and I are extremely proud,” co-director Dr Shin said.
“It is our duty and our privilege to continue such a high calibre of care and to provide leading-edge clinical practice to a new generation of men and women into the future,” he added.
Dr Hoffman and Dr Birrell worked with the not-for-profit, private community hospital to support co-located services such as diagnostic imaging specialists Dr Jones and Partners, and to create a dedicated chemotherapy centre on the compound at Toorak Gardens.
The Breast and Endocrine Centre has grown in recent years, with a redeveloped consulting and waiting space, and there were around 600 breast-related surgical procedures performed at Burnside Hospital during the 2017-18 financial year, including reconstructions.
This month the team is using the anniversary to remind women and men about breast health and regular checks.
Apart from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women – 18,000 will be diagnosed with it this year, according to the Cancer Council.
Survival rates are improving, as 89 percent of women with invasive breast cancer now live five or more years beyond diagnosis, says Cancer Australia.
If you notice any of the following changes to your breast, tell your GP:
• A lump
• Any change in the shape of the breast or dimpling of the skin
• An area that feels different to the rest
• Discharge from the nipple
• Pulling in of the nipple (known as nipple inversion or retraction)
• Persistent breast pain
For more information, visit the Breast and Endocrine Centre website.