Breast Cancer

Health written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Conservative, North Swindon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that older breast cancer patients have their care co-ordinated by a multidisciplinary team;

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that older breast cancer patients have access to a clinical nurse specialist;

(3) how many women with breast cancer aged (a) 49 and under, (b) 50 to 59, (c) 60 to 69, (d) 70 to 79, (e) 80 to 89 and (f) over 90 years old in each (i) cancer network and (ii) primary care trust have had their care co-ordinated by a multidisciplinary team in each year since 1997 for which figures are available;

(4) how many women with breast cancer aged (a) 49 and under, (b) 50 to 59, (c) 60 to 69, (d) 70 to 79, (e) 80 to 89 and (f) over 90 years old in each (i) cancer network and (ii) primary care trust were given access to a clinical nurse specialist in each year since 1997 for which figures are available.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

Information concerning the number of women with breast cancer who have their care co-ordinated by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and the number of women with breast cancer who are given access to a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is not collected.

“Improving Outcomes in Breast Cancer”, published by the Department in 1996 and updated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2002, sets out best practice guidance on the diagnosis, treatment and aftercare of women with breast cancer. The guidance is intended for women of all ages.

One of its four key recommendations is that women should be treated by an MDT. The guidance also recommends that every patient should have access to a named breast care nurse throughout treatment and into aftercare. This guidance was fully implemented in 2005.

The 2010 Cancer Patient Experience Survey showed that 93% of breast cancer patients reported having a CNS. This summer we will publish the 2011 Cancer Patient Experience Survey and will be looking closely to see where improvements have been made in the provision of CNSs.

In January 2012, NICE published the Breast Cancer Quality Standard, which sets out the markers of high-quality, cost-effective breast cancer care and contains 13 quality statements. Quality Statement 6 recommends that

“People with early invasive breast cancer, irrespective of age, are offered surgery, radiotherapy and appropriate systemic therapy, unless significant comorbidity precludes it”.

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