Reoperation rates for Canadian breast cancer patients too high: UBC Okanagan study - InfoNews

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Reoperation rates for Canadian breast cancer patients too high: UBC Okanagan study

Clinical assistant professor and surgical oncologist Chris Baliksi is pictured outside Kelowna General Hospital in this contributed photo.
Image Credit: Contributed/UBC Okanagan
December 15, 2016 - 1:00 PM

KELOWNA – Canadian breast cancer patients that require a potentially avoidable additional operation after treatment is costing the heath care system and the patients wellbeing, according to a recent study by researchers at UBC Okanagan.

A lumpectomy, or breast conservation surgery, is a procedure that removes tumours, conserves breast tissue and is followed by radiation therapy.

The UBC Okanagan study examined the costs involved when lumpectomy patients require an additional operation, a media release says. Reoperation rates on lumpectomy patients in Canada are more than double the recommended targets. The cost associated with these re-operations total $2 million per year.

Study author Chris Baliski, who is a clinical assistant professor at UBC Okanagan and surgical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency in Kelowna, says a lack of clinical guidelines, targets and report cards provided to surgeons are all part of the problem.

“In Canada, 23 per cent of women require additional procedures, ranging from further breast conservation surgery to full mastectomies and breast reconstruction,” Baliski says in the release. “With reoperation rates varying widely between surgeons, it would be interesting to see if a systematic focus on health quality and improvement could minimize the number of surgeries being performed.”

Re-operation makes a positive cosmetic outcome more difficult and can cause additional stress and anxiety for patients, he says.

Baliski and his co-researcher Reka Pataky looked at reoperation averages in Canada in data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information calculated with the 10 per cent target suggested by the European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. The society estimated earlier this year that 99,500 women in the country would be diagnosed with cancer in 2016, 26 per cent for breast cancer.


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