Critical Condition

Cut It Off

NHS doesn’t offer breast-cancer patients reconstructive surgery after mastectomies? From the Guardian:

The NHS is letting down women with breast cancer by offering less than half of sufferers the chance to have reconstructive surgery immediately after a mastectomy, an official report reveals.

Just 48% of women with the disease were offered the option of reconstruction in 2007-08 even though National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines say it should be 100% of eligible patients, according to the National Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Audit.

Only 21% of breast cancer patients had an immediate reconstruction, it found. While that is up on the 11% recorded the previous year, there are concerns that wide variations in the numbers undergoing surgery in different parts of England and Wales suggest that doctors need to improve how they talk to women about their options for treatment after having a breast removed.

The study also found that five of the NHS’s 30 regional cancer networks in England lack the expertise to offer women undergoing a mastectomy reconstruction either locally or quickly.