Health Improvement Scotland has issued a report into the clinical management of breast cancer in NHS Tayside which highlights local inconsistencies in breast cancer care.
Ashleigh Simpson, Policy and Campaigns Manager (Scotland) at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said:
It’s really worrying that this report highlights significant variation in two key areas of breast cancer treatment being offered in NHS Tayside. We would encourage anyone who thinks they may be affected to contact their GP or oncologist to discuss their concerns.
It’s extremely concerning that a decision was taken in these areas to offer a lower dose of FEC-T chemotherapy to all patients, and we now need to understand what clinical impact this may have. It’s vital that the same standard of care is in place no matter where patients live in Scotland, with best practice guidelines and patients’ individual circumstances being taken into account to enable patients to make informed decisions about their care.
It’s also completely unacceptable that Oncotype DX has not been routinely offered to eligible patients in NHS Tayside. Tests like this can be vital in guiding decisions about whether chemotherapy is necessary or whether early breast cancer patients can be safely spared its difficult side-effects, and we must ensure equal access across the country to enable all Scottish patients to receive the best treatment for them.
These issues must now be addressed as soon as possible. We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring that health boards adhere to clinical management guidelines and now hope that NHS Tayside act will swiftly on the recommendations of this report.