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Women with advanced breast cancer 'feel let down on care'

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Women with advanced breast cancer feel let down with the level of care they receive, research shows.

Some 235 British women whose cancer had spread to other organs filled in an in-depth questionnaire funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign, with the results published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

The report said there was “little evidence of involvement of general practitioners and palliative care services” for the women.

More than 50% had been living with secondary breast cancer for two years or more but many did not receive palliative care, despite their pain, because they were not at the end-of-life stage.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) said the healthcare professional they would opt to see on a regular basis would be their hospital consultant.

A third (34%) said they endured high levels of pain and other uncontrolled symptoms, around a quarter (27%) had shortness of breath and 26% suffered from nausea despite the availability of medication to tackle these symptoms.

Those with breast cancer that had spread to their bones were most likely to suffer pain, with 44% saying their pain was significant, the University of Southampton research team reported.



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Readers' comments (1)

  • Having previously been a clinical nurse specilaist for breast cancer, I believe there is now substantial gap in services for these women. This is in part due to the fact that most CNS's are now hospital based and the follow up home visits are a thing of the past therefore most patients do not identify with a key worker because of this. If they get a recurrence they do not know who to contact for support. With reduced contact by site specific nurse specialist identifying women with palliative needs are less likey to be passed on to Macmillan nurses. Site specific nurses alos traditionally dealt with uncomplicated symptom control in the past therefore filling the gap.

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