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The National Breast Referral Guidelines have cut down inappropriate referrals in the under 50s

, : The National Breast Referral Guidelines have cut down inappropriate referrals in the under 50s. European Journal of Surgical Oncology 25(3): 251-254

When the National Breast Referral Guidelines were applied to our local GPs letters immediately prior to their release in January 1996, it was shown that on the basis of the GPs own conclusions that 29% of symptomatic women could have been managed initially by their own GP without missing any carcinomas. We conducted this study at the Rapid Access Breast Clinic at the University Hospital of Wales to determine if the breast referral practices of local GPs have altered due to the breast referral guidelines. We studied 2332 referrals from the inception of the Rapid Access Clinic in May 1995 to the issue of the guidelines, and 2421 referrals from May 1996 to the end of the year. Random samples of 600 patients were drawn from each year and the referral letters were scored as within or outside the guidelines. Family history patients were excluded. There was an 11% fall in referrals outside the guidelines in the under 50s (chi-squared=<0.001) but the 7% fall in the over 50s was not significant. The Breast Referral Guidelines seem to have been effective in reducing the higher level of inappropriate referrals in younger patients at less risk of carcinoma.


PMID: 10336802

DOI: 10.1053/ejso.1998.0636

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