Does it matter where you live? Treatment variation for breast cancer in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Breast Cancer Group

Br J Cancer. 1995 Jun;71(6):1275-8. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1995.246.


Over 27,000 patients with breast cancer were identified from cancer registry data from 1978 to 1992 and differences in treatment practice across the 16 districts of Yorkshire studied. A total of 50 surgeons treated more than an average of ten cases a year. Surgeons who expressed an interest in breast cancer were more likely to treat a greater number of patients than those who had no special interest in the disease and offered patients chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiotherapy more often. The average regional mastectomy rate fell from 70% to 44% over this period, but the rate varied between districts from 13% to 87%, with those at the extremes occupying these positions year on year. The rate of uptake of radiotherapy varied between districts from 13% to 58% over the period 1978-92. The use of adjuvant chemotherapy increased from 5% to 19% and hormone therapy from 19% to 80% over this time period. An audit of the facilities available within each district carried out in early 1994 also showed considerable variation, although all districts now have access to a nurse specialist. There were wide variations in treatment offered to patients with breast cancer. Patients in some districts were denied access to chemo- and and radiotherapy despite published guidelines showing these modalities to be useful. It is recommended that patients are referred to units with an interest in breast cancer rather than to general surgical out-patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • England
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regional Health Planning
  • Registries