Introduction: In recognition of the advances and evidence based changes in clinical practice that have occurred in recent years and taking into account the knowledge and experience accumulated through the voluntary breast unit certification programme, Eusoma has produced this up-dated and revised guidelines on the requirements of a Specialist Breast Centre (BC).
Methods: The content of these guidelines is based on evidence from the recent relevant peer reviewed literature and the consensus of a multidisciplinary team of European experts. The guidelines define the requirements for each breast service and for the specialists who work in specialist Breast Centres.
Results: The guidelines identify the minimum requirements needed to set up a BC, these being an integrated Breast Centre, dealing with a sufficient number of cases to allow effective working and continuing expertise, dedicated specialists working with a multidisciplinary approach, providing all services throughout the patients pathway and data collection and audit. It is essential that the BC also guarantees the continuity of care for patients with advanced (metastatic) disease offering treatments according to multidisciplinary competencies and a high quality palliative care service. The BC must ensure that comprehensive support and expertise may be needed, not only through the core BC team, but also ensure that all other medical and paramedical expertise that may be necessary depending on the individual case are freely available, referring the patient to the specific care provider depending on the problem.
Conclusions: Applying minimum requirements and quality indicators is essential to improve organisation, performance and outcome in breast care. Efficacy and compliance have to be constantly monitored to evaluate the quality of patient care and to allow appropriate corrective actions leading to improvements in patient care.
Keywords: Breast Centre; Breast cancer care; Breast specialist; Data collection audit; Eusoma; Multidisciplinary approach; Performance; Quality indicator; Quality of care.
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