In the Philippines, I notice that female patients with a breast concern are at a loss on which specialists to consult.
Answer: General Surgeons.
Why general surgeons?
General surgeons are the only specialists in the Philippines who have extensive training on breast diseases. They diagnose breast conditions. They treat breast conditions. Not because they are called surgeons do they operate on all patients with a breast concern. They operate only there is a need for an operation. If there is a need to ask help from other specialists for extended treatment like plastic surgeons, medical oncologists and radiotherapists, then they refer accordingly.
As mentioned, based on the training programs in the Philippines, general surgeons are the only specialists with extensive training on breast diseases, not obstetrician-gynecologists, not medical oncologists, not radiotherapists, not pediatricians, etc.
Thus, general surgeons are the first specialists in the Philippines to see if there is a breast concern.
Why are female patients with a breast concern or the general population at a loss on which specialists to consult? The answer is simply because the title given to general surgeons do not specify breast specialization.
The scope of specializations of general surgeons is extensive. They can treat potential and actual surgical conditions in the head and neck, chest, abdomen, and extremities. These are still part of their training in the general surgery residency programs in the Philippines. In cities where there are super and subspecialization already, certified general surgeons usually limit their practice to head and neck, thyroid, breast, abdomen, hernias and skin and soft tissue surgery. Thus, they are also specialists in these areas.
General surgeons still have not changed their title to the like of obstetrics-gynecologists; urologists; orthopedic surgeons; anesthesiologists; cardiologists; gastroenterologists; etc. which are descriptive of their specialties.
Until the time that general surgeons will change their title to one that specifically describes their specialties (at least six), for the moment, one just has to know that breast specialists are the general surgeons and general surgeons are breast specialists.
I hope the Filipino community will be guided by this write-up.