The International Society of Breast Pathology

was born in 1998.

In the editorial of the May/June 1997 issue of The Breast Journal, an invitation was extended to interested individuals in the establishment of a unique society focused on the issues related to breast pathology.  Simultaneously, individual invitations were sent to many pathologists around the world.  The response was overwhelming.  Approximately 600 physicians supported this initiative.  Many voiced their enthusiasm by writing well-thought out and carefully stated goals recognizing the necessity for the development of this society and generously offering their assistance.

On September 20, 1997, the initial meeting of The International Society of Breast Pathology was held in Philadelphia, PA, and a preliminary mission statement was proposed.  This was followed by an organizational meeting of The Society during the 1998 annual meeting of The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology in Boston, MA. The turnout at this meeting further confirmed our commitment to formally establish this society.  Therefore, March 1, 1998, is now marked as the birth date of The International Society of Breast Pathology.

Issues discussed during the meeting included the recognition of the continued dilemmas surrounding the diagnosis of borderline breast lesions and lobular lesions,  criteria for microinvasion, tissue processing and search

for microcalcification, assessment of margins, fine needle aspiration biopsy and core biopsy, morphologic risk factors, predictive and prognostic factors, choice of biomarkers and standardization, pathology reports, second opinions and the associated costs and liabilities, and finally, the pathologist’s visibility in the medical community and breast cancer research.

Emphasis was also placed on the importance of the pathologist’s role in management and patient care as well as in the development of strategies to standardize the traditional as well as newly recognized technologies. It was generally agreed that The International Society of Breast Pathology should move toward becoming a companion society of The United States and Canadian division of The International Academy of Pathology. The focus, however, must be to create a working society to address the existing issues and to develop uniform guidelines in breast pathology.

It was suggested that the mission of The International Society of Breast Pathology can be achieved by enhanced communication and networking among pathologists, establishment of breast tissue banks and clinical follow-up data bases, initiation of consensus conferences, and providing educational opportunities and designing well-controlled, multinational and multidisciplinary breast cancer research studies.