A simple tool for rapid access to a symptomatic breast clinic

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2004 Apr;30(3):248-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2003.11.010.


Aim: The introduction of a rapid referral system has led to an increase in the number of patients with benign disease using clinic appointments. This situation could delay those patients, who do have cancer but are not referred within these rapid referral guidelines. Existing guidelines fail to benefit those patients with lower risk symptoms. We reviewed prospective audit data from patients referred to a symptomatic breast unit with the aim of introducing a referral schema based upon symptoms, age and relative risk of cancer.

Method: Demographic details, mode of referral, history and presenting symptoms were collected from each of the 2064 patients referred to the James Cook University Hospital (JCUH) breast unit from April 2001 to March 2002.

Results: Odds Ratios (OR) from eight dependent variables gave a 30% improvement in prediction accuracy of breast cancer. From these findings a breast referral schema is presented that is designed to expedite referral from primary care of those patients most at risk.

Conclusions: Use of the schema within primary care could lead to an increase in the early referral of patients with breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Breast Diseases / therapy*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Risk
  • Time Factors