More than 40,000 breast cancers are diagnosed each year in the UK and breast cancer causes around 13,000 deaths per annum in the UK. Screening may reduce the chance of dying from breast cancer. It provides women with more choices in the planning of their surgical treatment. Between five and ten per cent of women with breast cancer have an inherited predisposition.
After adjusting for age, the incidence rates for breast cancer is significantly higher in Northumberland than England, and incidence is increasing. Patients also often presented later than the UK average, and the uptake of mammography was dropping.
Northumbria’s integrated breast service provides support of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of symptomatic benign and malignant breast disease. It is based on international best practice underpinned by the national cancer strategy, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020; the Northern Cancer Alliance and The Northumberland Cancer Strategy.
Public health programmes are provided to support women to make healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent certain types of breast cancer. All women aged 50 to 70 are invited for three yearly mammographic screening.
Northumbria provides a one-stop breast outpatient clinic for patients with symptomatic breast lumps and other symptoms raising suspicion of breast cancer. Patients have same-day triple assessment of imaging, cytology, clinical examination, and then diagnosis.
Multidisciplinary teams review the diagnosis and plan care. Northumbria provides a full range of surgical treatments for all types of breast cancer as well as a full range of breast reconstruction procedures.
For those patients unable to, or who would rather not have an immediate reconstruction, Northumbria offers a delayed procedure.
Northumbria provides holistic intervention – in addition to excellent clinical care, patients also receive support from clinical psychologists.
Northumbria supports the management of side effects of treatments in an integrated way with community based support services, and is currently piloting the use of acupuncture to treat hot flushes which can be worsened by some of the treatments used against breast cancer.
Also, Northumbria uniquely provides a bone health service for breast cancer patients. Anti-hormone tablets are used to treat some breast cancers but, if not carefully monitored, can lead to osteoporosis. Northumbria runs special bone health clinics to monitor bone thinning in patients prescribed anti-hormone tablets and gives treatment to support bones while medication is taken.
Northumbria also has an innovative and highly valued ‘Moving-On’ programme to assist patients who survive breast cancer.
“I had brilliant care and support. The whole procedure from seeing the consultant to having the tests to seeing the consultant again lasted 2 hours. Everyone was helpful and informative. A very impressing and quick service. Thanks to all involved.”
User of Northumbria One Stop Breast Clinic
- Northumbria’s patients have rated the cancer service among the best in the UK;
- Northumbria is consistently rated in the top ten providers of cancer (Macmillan cancer patient experience survey);
- Northumberland’s breast cancer One Year Survival rate of 97.8% is higher than the UK average of 96.5%.
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