Introduction: The goal of the 2008 updated guideline: early detection of breast cancer in Germany is to support physicians as well as healthy and affected women in the decision-making process involved in the diagnostic chain for the early detection of breast cancer by providing them with evidence- and consensus-based recommendations. The updated guideline replaces the guideline issued in 2003.
Materials and methods: The guideline forms the basis for developing an effective and efficient national early breast cancer detection program that meets the standards set by the Council of Europe and WHO for cancer control programs. The guideline presents the current, evidence- and consensus-based state of scientific knowledge in a multidisciplinary approach for the entire diagnostic chain, consisting of history taking and risk consultation, information on health behavior, clinical breast examination, diagnostic imaging, image-guided percutaneous tissue-acquisition techniques, open surgical excisional biopsy and pathomorphological tissue evaluation. The guideline recommends a set of quality indicators to assure resource availability, performance quality and outcomes enhancing total quality management for early breast cancer diagnosis.
Conclusion: Currently, early detection of breast cancer offers the most promising possibility to optimize the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and, as a result, reduce breast cancer mortality and improve health related quality of life in women.