The impact of "Be Clear on Cancer" campaign on breast care services provided by a specialist oncoplastic unit - A retrospective case control study.
INTRODUCTION: "Be Clear on Cancer" (BCOC) was a national campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer in women over seventy years old. Cancer Research UK conducted this campaign from 03 February 2014 to 15 March 2014. This study assesses its impact on breast care services. METHODS: BCOC campaign guidelines for hospital trusts were used as standard comparator for this retrospective case-control study. All new patients referred to breast clinic over four months from February 2014 were included, and compared to the same period in 2013. Information was recorded for referrals, biopsy rates and pathological diagnoses. Intra & inter-group comparisons were performed. RESULTS: 1646 patients were included. An increase of 25.2%(n = 184) was observed in referrals in 2014(n = 915) compared to 2013(n = 731). Cancer detection rates went down significantly (P = 0.002,Chi-square) in 2014 (5.1%,n = 47) compared to 2013 (9.0%,n = 66) due to the increase in number of referrals. In the over 70s group, a higher than predicted increase of 64.2%(n = 52) in all referrals, and 8%(n = 44) in two-week wait referrals was observed. The number of biopsies and cancers detected remained stable although the proportions undergoing biopsies (2014-29.3%,n = 39/133 versus 2013-38.3%,n = 31/81) or being diagnosed with cancer (2014-19.5%,n = 26/133 versus 2013-30.9%,n = 25/81) declined significantly (P = 0.001,McNemar) during the campaign due to an inflation in the number of referrals. Despite the overall reduction, cancer detection rate for biopsies performed remained significantly high in the over 70s (66.7%,n = 26/39) when compared with the under 70s (23.9%,n = 21/88) during the campaign. CONCLUSIONS: Although "Be Clear on Cancer" campaign resulted in a significant increase in breast cancer referrals, it did not translate into an increase in biopsy rates or cancer detection rates. The amount of work generated for the hospital because of this campaign was far greater than the predicted increase from campaign pilots. Therefore, the overall effectiveness of this campaign is questionable.
Azmy, Iman A