Pathology specimens from screened women present particular challenges.

At the macroscopic level is the need to adequately sample impalpable lesions, requiring the additional modality of specimen radiography.

At the histological level the pathologist is presented with a number of difficult to classify conditions, many of which lie on the border between benign and malignant.


A pathologist involved in BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA) will be medically qualified and registered to practice in New Zealand.

All BSA pathologists should hold recognised postgraduate qualifications in pathology and be enrolled on the New Zealand Medical Council's Vocational Register in anatomic or general pathology.

Accreditation process

All pathologists working in the BSA programme require accreditation to do so.

  • Each pathologist will be assessed on their qualifications, training etc and a decision will be made by the BSA Clinical Leader and the Pathologists’ Unidisciplinary Group, based on information submitted in the Accreditation Template.
  • A recommendation will be made by BreastScreen Aotearoa, regarding their ability to work in the Programme and the outcome will be communicated to their Lead Provider Manager, Clinical Director and the pathologist concerned.

Professional requirements

A full description of the professional requirements for breastcare nurses working the in the BSA programme is in criterion 8.17 of the BreastScreen Aotearoa National Policy and Quality Standards.

BreastScreen Aotearoa National Policy and Quality Standards