New NICE quality standard published on breast cancer
NICE has today (30 September) published a new quality standard on breast cancer for use in all NHS-funded settings in England. The new standard recognises the importance of achieving a good aesthetic outcome to surgery, as well as reducing the chances of the cancer returning. It also states that age should not affect the treatment a patient receives for early breast cancer.
NICEquality standards are clear, concise statements and measures that act as markers of high-quality, clinical and cost-effective patient care. They are developed from the best available evidence, usually NICE guidance or NHS Evidence-accredited sources. Quality standards apply nationally across England, and aim to define high-quality care for patients, carers and the public, health and social care professionals, commissioners and service providers.
The new NICE quality standard on breast cancer is the twelfth quality standard to be published. There are a further 15 currently in development.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in England, and around one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. About 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and it is the leading cause of death in women aged 34 to 54. In men, breast cancer is very rare, with about 300 men diagnosed each year in the UKi.
The quality standard on breast cancer contains 13 statements which cover the management of early (ductal carcinoma in situii and invasive), locally advanced and advanced breast cancer in adults. The standard states that patients having treatment for breast cancer should be offered personalised information and support, including a written follow-up care plan and details of how to contact a named healthcare professional. It also states that patients with early invasive breast cancer, irrespective of age, are offered surgery, radiotherapy and appropriate systemic therapy, unless significant comorbidity precludes it. Additionally, the standard states that patients with recurrent or advanced breast cancer have access to a ‘key worker', who is a clinical nurse specialist and who will provide continuity of care and support, offer referral to psychological services if required and liaise with other healthcare professionals including the GP and specialist palliative care services.
Dr Fergus Macbeth, Director, Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: “Breast cancer is a very serious disease that affects around one in eight women at some point in their lives. This new quality standard on breast cancer will help all those involved in delivering services to ensure that women receive the very highest levels of care.”
Chris Askew, Chief Executive at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: “Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK so it's vital that clear standards are in place to ensure that patients receive the best possible levels of care. Breakthrough Breast Cancer welcomes this standard which complements our work to put patients at the heart of breast cancer services.”
The new quality standard is available on the NICE website from Friday 30 September at:
Notes to Editors
1. The quality standard on breast cancer is derived from:
- Advanced breast cancer: diagnosis and treatment. NICE clinical guideline 81 (2009; NHS Evidence accredited). Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG81
- Early and locally advanced breast cancer: diagnosis and treatment. NICE clinical guideline 80 (2009; NHS Evidence accredited). Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG80
- Referral for suspected cancer. NICE clinical guideline 27 (2005; NHS Evidence accredited). Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG27
- Management of breast cancer in women. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guideline No. 84, 2005 (update of SIGN guideline No, 29). Available from www.sign.ac.uk
2. There is more information on NICE quality standards at: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp
3. There is more information on Breakthrough Breast Cancer at: http://breakthrough.org.uk/
i. Breast Cancer Care (2008) Guide for commissioners: Meeting the nursing needs of metastatic breast cancer care patients. Secondary Breast Cancer Taskforce.
ii. This is the most common form of pre-invasive breast cancer, which is confined to normal breast structures and has not infiltrated into the supporting breast tissue and so cannot have spread to other sites in the body.
1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
3. NICE produces standards for patient care:
- quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
- Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients.
4. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice throughits implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.
This page was last updated: 29 September 2011