Cindy completed her medical training with honours at Sydney University. She obtained her general surgery qualifications in Sydney and subsequently went on to sub-specialise in breast surgery. She was the Breast Fellow and Surgical Superintendent at Concord Hospital and went on to obtain further oncoplastic surgery experience at the Edinburgh Breast Unit, UK, as a fellow and consultant surgeon. She returned to Australia in 2009.
Cindy is a visiting medical officer at BreastScreen NSW, a member of the Australasian Society for Breast Disease, the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group, the Australian Medical Association and is an honorary scientific officer at The Garvan Institute.
She is an active member of Breast SurgANZ, the speciality society for surgeons treating breast cancer. She sits on the oncoplastic subcommittee of Breast SurgANZ, a committee dedicated to supporting breast surgeons with an oncoplastic surgery interest.
Cindy’s main research interests include participation in clinical trials on breast reconstruction options and techniques. She is active in the application of new oncoplastic techniques to improve cosmetic outcomes for patients who having cancer surgery as well as prophylactic surgery.
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Breast SurgANZ, AMA, BreastScreen NSW, The Garvan Institute, Australasian Society of Breast Disease
Q&A with Dr Cindy Mak
What is your title?
What training have you completed?
I trained as a doctor at The University of Sydney, and then completed my surgical training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, in General Surgery. I became the Breast Fellow and Superintendent at Concord Hospital for 2 years, and then did a further year of fellowship at The Edinburgh Breast Unit upskilling in oncoplastic breast surgery. I had planned on returning to Australia after that to take up a consultant position, but was offered a consultant job there, and stayed on a little longer.
My first job was…
A receptionist at an IT company!
To explain to people what I do I say…
I’m a breast surgeon who deals mostly in breast cancer work. I am a breast and reconstructive surgeon, psychologist, and a support service all rolled into one.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Giving patients bad news.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Developing relationships with my patients – I have the privilege of being involved in their lives long-term. I get to watch their children and grandchildren grow, learn about their latest life-dramas and share their happy experiences with them. The time I am happiest, though, is when I am operating – especially when I think I’ve done a particularly good operation!
How long have you been working at Lifehouse?
Since its inception. I was involved in the planning, watched it being built and now have the pleasure of operating and consulting within it.
What attracted you to working at Lifehouse?
The idea of a comprehensive cancer service is a very attractive one. All the multidisciplinary subspecialities are involved, the communication between us is better and our ability to implement research projects is more effective. State of the art theatres is also a major drawcard!
My biggest achievement so far…
Is marrying someone who allows me to work to the best of my ability and who loves and cares for our children beautifully.
To unwind at the end of the day I…
Read a book to the kids. It’s usually something to do with Star Wars or Marvel Superheroes – but it is still fun.