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 Proudly supported by an education grant from ROCHE.

Target Audience
Course Outline
Your Certificate of Completion


Pathology Fundamentals had been developed by the ASBD to provide professionals working with breast cancer patients a comprehensive understanding and overview of standard pathological assessment and emerging new technologies in the assessment of the breast pathology specimens.

Pathology Fundamentals is an online training course developed to provide educational opportunities with CME accreditation to our multidisciplinary audience who have an interest in the diagnosis and treatment of breast disease. This course is presented by A/Prof Nirmala Pathmanathan and Dr Gavin Harris.

The course contains 8 learning modules that must be completed in order. Each module consistes of a lecture followed by multiple choice questions, The modules can be completed in your own time over several sittings. The course takes approximately 3-3.5 hrs to complete. The Learning Management Software (LMS) tracks your progress. A completion certificate is available as a PDF to download at the end of the course for CPD purposes.

Target Audience

The course is suitable for clinical professionals from any discipline who interact with breast cancer patients and their families and who may be required to interpret pathology reports and advise on testing available nationally.


             RACS CPD Approved logo navy                                             ACN Endorsement Horizontal December exp 2022 web
This educational activity has been approved in the RACS CPD Program.
Fellows who participate can claim one point per hour in Maintenance of
Knowledge and Skills.
Participation in this activity will be populated into your RACS CPD Online.
This webinar & online course is endorsed by ACN according to our
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Endorsed Course Standards.
It has been allocated 3 CPD hours according to the Nursing and Midwifery
Board of Australia – Continuing Professional Development Standard.


Accessing Online Courses

Members will be asked to use their ASBD membership login to access the courses at the member's fees.

Non-members will be asked to create a new account with a login to access the courses. You will them be asked to enter your information and pay for the course with a credit card. Once paid you will see the Online Learning Portal page. Enter your username and password on the top right to see the course/s you are regiastered for on the course list. Click on hte course to start.

KEEP THE LOGIN DETAILS YOU CREATE. They will be emailed to you when you create a new account.


ASBD members: Free


Non-members: $100*

*Join ASBD prior to registering for free registration. Join at



1)  To enhance understanding of pathology processes, concepts and terminology applied to breast cancer patient’s specimens once received in the laboratory.

2)  To provide an understanding of the potential pitfalls in pathology processes and the need for quality and accuracy in the handling of breast cancer patient’s specimens.

3)  To provide an update of emerging laboratory tests relevant for breast cancer patients and their implementation in Australasia.

4)  To enhance interpretation and understanding of the breast pathology report that will in turn assist with multidisciplinary treatment decisions 


Associate Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan, BSc (Med), MB, BS, FRCPA, MIAC

NirmalaAssociate Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan is an anatomical pathologist with expertise in breast diseases. She is the Service Director of the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute in Sydney, a comprehensive multidisciplinary breast cancer program covering Western Sydney. A/Prof Pathmanathan has worked from 2002 to 2016 as a Senior Staff Specialist in the Department of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, Pathology West. She is also the Designated/Lead Pathologist for BreastScreen, Sydney West, and the Director for BreastScreen Program for Sydney West, a Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Sydney and Conjoint Associate Professor with the University of Western Sydney.

A/Professor Pathmanathan is the recipient and chief or principal investigator on a number of grant-funded projects and is an executive committee member of the Australian Breast Cancer Tumour Bank. She is a Member of NBOCC Sentinel Node Biopsy Subgroup and was involved in the development of recommendations for use of Sentinel Node Biopsy in Breast Cancer. Recently, A/Professor Pathmanathan has been a steering committee member in the development and presentation of breast cancer workshops, aimed at improving the quality of breast cancer pathology and HER2 testing in several countries across the Asia Pacific Region. She sits on the Executive Committee for the Australasian Society for Breast Diseases and is a National Clinical Advisory Board Member for BreastScreen Australia. Her primary research interests are in HER2 testing, prognostic markers in ER positive breast cancer and borderline/atypical lesions of the breast. A/Professor Pathmanathan joined Douglass Hanly Moir in November 2016.

Dr Gavin Harris, B Sc(Med), BMBS, FRCPath 

GavinGavin is an Anatomical Pathologist with specialist interest in breast pathology.  He trained in Nottingham, UK with a period of subspecialist breast pathology training under Professors Chris Elston and Ian Ellis who developed the international grading system in use today, together with Professor Sarah Pinder.  He emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand in 2003 to lead the development of a specialist breast pathology service, which he continues to lead today, working closely with the Cancer Society Tissue Bank and Breast Cancer Foundation National Register, for which he Chairs the Clinical Advisory Group and is a member of the Board of Trustees.  He is passionate about how optimising pathology assessment can improve diagnosis and more accurately predict prognosis for breast cancer patients, reflected in his interest in the molecular and computational aspects of breast cancer pathology.  He is currently enrolled as a part-time MD student at the University of Auckland.

 Course Outline     


Learning Objectives

1 Specimen handling and grossing issues for the surgeon

1. Principles of fixation                            
2. Inking and grossing

2 Understanding grading and proliferation

1. Nottingham grading                             
2. Issues of subjectivity                            
3. Ki67 assessment and reproducibility

3 Subtypes and molecular surrogates

1. Special subtypes and significance                            
2. Molecular surrogates

4 Surgical margin interpretation

1. Challenges and significance for invasive +/- DCIS and pure DCIS

5 Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: assessment of treatment response

1. Localisation issues                                
2. Assessment of treatment response   
3. Subtype and response                         
4. Surgical margin assessment                
5. Assessment of lymph nodes

6 AJCC 8th Edition update

1. Changes in new edition                        
2. Nodal disease                                                   
3. Anatomic and Pathologic prognosis  
4. Post NACT issues 

7 Receptor testing

1. What is positive                                    
2. Incon HER2 tests and significance                               
3. HER 2 heterogeneity                             
4. Significance of PR

8 Prognostic gene panels

1. How do they work                                
2. Comparison of available tests                                   
3. Is grade still relevant?

Your Certificate of Completion

When you have completed the course your certificate of completion can be downloaded from the Gradebook page.

If you do not see the green course completed message in your Gradebook you must return to the modules listed as incomplete and make sure you have completed the module to the very end. 

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