A/Professor James French
Specialist Breast and Thyroid Surgeon
A/Professor James French is a specialist breast and thyroid surgeon and head of breast surgery at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute. He also has a private practice run via Specialist Services, consulting from suite 3 in the Hospital for Specialist Surgery (HSS) in Bella Vista. In the private sector he operates at the HSS, Westmead Private and Norwest Private hospitals. In the public sector he operates from both Westmead public hospital and Mt Druitt hospital.
A/Professor James French was drawn to a career in medicine from an early age – his father was a general surgeon and his mother a GP. After completing general surgical training James under took 2 further fellowship years of training in breast and thyroid / parathyroid surgery. For the past five years James has concentrated exclusively on breast and thyroid surgery.
James is at the forefront of developing the newer so-called oncoplastic techniques for breast surgery which focuses on treating the cancer but at the same time giving patients the best possible aesthetic outcome. This allows women to focus on their recovery while being reminded as little as possible about the treatment they have had. He offers a wide variety of options for women who are suitable for or choose to undergo breast-conserving surgery including adaptive mammoplasty (breast conserving surgery combined with breast reduction) and multiple implant-based options (single and 2 stage procedures, with and without nipple preservation) for women who choose post mastectomy implant based breast reconstruction. In addition he maintains close ties with plastic and reconstructive colleagues for patients who choose or who are best suited to a tissue-based reconstruction.
James chairs, and discusses all his breast cancer patients in an multi-disciplinary meeting both in the public and private sectors, ensuring everyone has access to multiple specialist opinions regarding their cancer management.
Each week I attend 2 or 3 multi-disciplinary meetings with colleagues to develop personalised care plans for each of my patients.
The field of breast surgery is moving incredibly quickly and we are all constantly striving to give women the best possible treatment outcomes. It’s fantastic to be at the forefront of this work.
As a clinical lecturer at the university of Sydney, James is also involved in teaching of medical graduates from medical students to post graduate surgical fellows. He has contributed to 37 peer reviewed articles and is involved in several local and international clinical trials.
James is a member of the medical advisory committees for Westmead Private hospital and the Hospital for Specialist Surgery and is on the board of the Australasian Society for Breast Disease. (ASBD)
While maintaining his general fitness James frequently competes in fun runs where any donations raised are directed towards a breast cancer related organisation. He also participates in breast cancer related charity events such as dragon boat racing and the pink ribbon ride.
I feel very lucky – my work is extremely rewarding. For example I like taking the time to talk to a newly diagnosed woman help her to understand all the treatment options available to her. Generally by the end of the appointment a patient who was incredibly worried is feeling much better, can make a clear, informed choice about her treatment and completely understands the next step.
My work involves long days in theatre where I’m operating for many hours. But at the end of that day I feel great knowing I’ve helped my patients in terms of treating their cancer and giving them the best possible aesthetic outcome I can. I discuss every patients’ care with my team – that way we ensure that every woman we treat has the benefit of multiple specialist opinions.