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Australia's breast surgery workload is changing: comparison of a metropolitan and a rural hospital



Australia's breast surgery workload is changing: comparison of a metropolitan and a rural hospital



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery 69(3): 178-182



Breast cancer is a common disease in our community and its incidence is increasing. As a result of the improvements in community awareness and introduction of screening, patients are being diagnosed with earlier breast cancer and with a higher incidence of pre-invasive disease. Improvements in radiology, often coupled with minimally invasive diagnostic modalities, have lessened the requirement for open diagnostic biopsies and also reduced the number of operations for benign breast disease. An audit of the surgical workload at Prince of Wales/Prince Henry Hospitals and Tamworth Base Hospital was conducted to document and compare the above changes in the metropolitan and rural settings. This study was conducted between 1987 and 1996 to assess the effect of screening and improved technology over a 10-year period. The study found that a high percentage of malignant lesions are being diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) with a corresponding reduction in open biopsy rate at the Prince of Wales Hospital. There is a smaller percentage of benign operations in both settings with a reduction of equal proportion. The reporting of the pathology specimens has markedly improved at both institutions. There has been a reduction in the number of patients having modified radical mastectomy and there has been a corresponding increase in breast conservation surgery especially at the Prince of Wales/Prince Henry Hospitals, although there was an unexpectedly high incidence of breast conservation surgery at Tamworth Base Hospital in 1987. In 1996 the rates of breast conservation surgery were the same in both hospitals. There are minimal differences in the quality of surgical care being offered to patients at the Tamworth Base Hospital compared with the Prince of Wales Hospital and both institutions are within reach of the accepted best management practices available.

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Accession: 045333816

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10075355

DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1622.1999.01518.x


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