Aim: Understanding the likely net benefit of chemotherapy for the individual patient helps physicians to give objective information. A prognostic table has been constructed detailing the percentage absolute survival advantage offered by polychemotherapy for patients with early breast cancer, according to their age and the Nottingham Prognostic Index of their tumour. This study aims to assess its first year of use in the Leicestershire Breast Unit.
Method: Demographic, pathological and treatment data were collected prospectively onto the Leicestershire breast cancer database. Patients with a potential survival advantage of 2% or greater in the year 01/05/99 to 30/04/00 (after the prognostic table was used routinely to determine oncology referrals) were identified. Chemotherapy usage was compared with the previous year's patient group.
Results: Two hundred and eighty-eight had early breast cancer, requiring surgery, eligible for consideration of adjuvant therapy. Of these, 98% of women with a potential survival advantage of 6% or more received chemotherapy. Ninety-one percent of those with a survival advantage of 4% or more was seen by an oncologist. Of those with a 2% survival advantage, 48% were referred to discuss the issues with an oncologist. Use of the table resulted in increased chemotherapy rates for women with a 4% potential survival advantage.
Conclusions: We have found the prognostic table to be a useful and workable tool and advocate its use.