Quality of Dutch breast cancer care is good
19 February 2013
The quality of the surgical treatment of breast cancer in The Netherlands is good. This is the conclusion of research by Margriet van der Heiden-van der Loo, PhD student at the Julius Center and researcher at the Integraal Kankercentrum Nederland (IKNL).
On 14 February she successfully defended her thesis "Defining the Quality of surgical breast cancer care” at Utrecht University. In her thesis she investigated the results of all Dutch hospitals. Her study included the results of two aspects: the percentage of patients who have recurrence of breast tumor within five years, and the percentage of patients who had no remaining breast tumor tissue in the breast after the first breast-conserving surgery.
Both outcomes were measured against national standards. The standards are: at most 5% of patients have recurrence of disease within 5 years after treatment, and up to 20% of patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery have tumor tissue remaining in the breast after the first surgery. The studies show that in The Netherlands 2.5% of the women had recurrence of the disease within five years, and 9% of the women had tumor tissue remaining in the breast.
Occurrence of cancer in The Netherlands
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Each year breast cancer is discovered in over 13,000 women in The Netherlands. Breast cancer treatment focuses on the removal of the tumor in the breast, to determine the spread of the disease to the lymph nodes in the armpit and to the rest of the body. Women with breast cancer are treated in almost all Dutch hospitals.