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Interdisciplinary care helps breast cancer prognosis

Written by | 31 Jul 2012 | All Medical News

by Gary Finnegan – World Health Matters (Germany) –

An interdisciplinary care model for breast cancer management has grown in popularity in recent years and evidence suggests the shift has been of major benefit to patients.

Since 2003, the Breast Centre at Heidelberg University Hospital has systematically tracked the course of breast cancer in more than 3,000 patients and has become the first German hospital to publish results of this prospective study.

86% of patients survived the first five years after onset of treatment, with 80% of these remaining disease-free during this period. The evaluation was published online in the journal The Breast.

In 15% of the patients, a tumour had recurred in the breast and in 19%, metastases had occurred, with some patients experiencing both. Taking the deaths into account that were not attributed to the breast cancer, the evaluation showed that only 10 % of the patients died from breast cancer during the first five years after diagnosis.

“The prognosis for breast cancer has further improved thanks to new treatment options and consistent interdisciplinary treatment,” said Prof Christof Sohn, Managing Director of the Heidelberg University Women’s Hospital and Director of the Breast Centre.

An evaluation of the German cancer registry for the period from 2000 to 2004 conducted by Robert Koch Institute in 2010 yielded a probability of 79.6 % for disease-free survival in the first five years after treatment.

“Our results serve as a basis for further improving preventative care and treatment of breast cancer patients. In this area, with the structures created at the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg, we are setting the standards for other centres in Germany,” the authors said.

In 2011, Heidelberg University Hospital’s Breast Center treated over 600 newly diagnosed patients, making it one of Germany’s largest breast centres. There are currently more than 200 certified breast centres in Germany.

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