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Monday 28th May 2018

Faster breast reconstruction

7th March 2008

An audit has shown that only 10% of women with breast cancer are receiving reconstructive surgery when they have a mastectomy.


The survey across England and Wales found a quarter of trusts offered no choice on the operations, despite experts saying that carrying them out at the same time minimises the psychological impact of losing a breast.

National guidance from 2002 also recommends women be offered the operations together.

Figures show that between 1997 and 2006 there was a 37% increase in the total number of operations performed for breast cancer, while the number of women offered immediate reconstruction increased from 7% to 11%.

The National Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Audit highlighted funding problems, lack of training or specialist teams, concerns about hitting government treatment targets and poor communication between clinicians as factors that were barriers for immediate reconstruction.

The Healthcare Commission, which commissioned the work, said it was important women were offered the choice.

Its head of clinical audits, Jonathan Boyce, said: ‚ÄúThese preliminary results show that not enough women have access to immediate reconstruction, and this needs to be addressed.‚Ä?

The charity Breast Cancer Care said the findings were unacceptable.

Further guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on surgical management and breast reconstruction is expected next year.

Consultant plastic surgeon Chris Caddy from the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons said every woman, for whom it was appropriate, should be offered immediate reconstruction but that was not happening because of a postcode lottery in care.


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