BreastSurgANZ Quality Audit
The BreastSurgANZ Quality Audit collects data and information from breast surgeons across Australia and New Zealand about the treatment and care of women with breast cancer. Its purpose is to improve the quality of care for women with breast cancer. More than 300 surgeons from Australia and New Zealand participate in the reporting process.
The Audit, previously known as the National Breast Cancer Audit, was established in 1998 by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Since late 2010, the College manages the Audit on behalf of the Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand (BreastSurgANZ).
Is your surgeon involved?
To find a surgeon who participates in the Audit in your area, use the 'Find a surgeon' section on the BreastSurgANZ website. All full BreastSurgANZ members are required to participate in the Audit.
Research articles which provide a picture of various aspects of the treatment and care of women with early breast cancer are regularly produced from the data collected. Consumer summaries of research articles have been prepared by the audit. They explain the outcome of the research in language that is easy to understand. See below for shorter examples of selected consumer summaries. A full list of the published research is also available on the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons website.
Access to breast care nurses for surgeons in Australia and New Zealand (2010)
Research has found that the support and information given by breast care nurses to women with early breast cancer can improve women’s physical and psychological wellbeing. Guidelines recommend that breast care nurses be part of the team of health professionals treating women with early breast cancer and that women have the opportunity to see a breast care nurse before having surgery.
In 2006, research found that the majority of Australian and New Zealand surgeons have access to a breast care nurse either in or outside their practice. However, it was found that there needs to be improvements in access to breast care nurses in rural practices and private practices. The researchers point to a need for more resources to reduce inequalities that exist, as well as more research into what affects the availability of breast care nurses in Australia and New Zealand.
The use of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in Australia and New Zealand (2012)
Women are said to have HER2-positive breast cancer when higher than normal levels of the protein HER2 are found on the cancer cells of their tumours. In 2007, recommendations were made that women being treated for HER2-positive early breast cancer be given trastuzumab (Herceptin) with chemotherapy when cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes of women’s armpits or when tumours are larger than one centimetre (cm). By 2008, data shows the treatment of early breast cancer was changing according to these recommendations. More testing was being done into HER2 status, more women with HER2-positive breast cancer were being given trastuzumab, and more surgeons were following the recommendations. However, the data also shows that women over 70 years were less likely to be treated according to these recommendations than women under 70 years.
Declining recommended treatments for early invasive breast cancer (2012)
Recommendations about what treatments are likely to be most effective for women diagnosed with early breast cancer are developed using the best research that is available. While most women with early breast cancer follow their doctor’s advice about which treatments to have, data collected between 1998 and 2005 shows that a small number of people (3 per cent) do not. The study showed that women are more likely not to have a recommended treatment if they are older (more women over 80 years chose not to have a particular treatment compared to women under 40), are being treated in a more remote area (9% of women living in a remote area chose not to have a recommended treatment compared to 3% living in a major city), are seeing a surgeon with a lower caseload (women being treated by surgeons who had fewer than 20 cases per year were more likely not to have a recommended treatment than women seeing surgeons with over 100 cases per year), or have a low grade tumour.
Who is BreastSurgANZ?
The Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand Inc. (BreastSurgANZ) is a specialty society for surgeons treating breast cancer. Their members manage around 90% of women with early breast cancer in Australia and New Zealand. All members are Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.