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Supplementary Material for: Staging for Breast Cancer: A Nationwide Survey about Adherence to Guidelines in German Breast Centers

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posted on 14.01.2022, 12:46 by Jannes M., König A., Kolben M., Fridrich C., Kirn V.
Introduction: The risk for metastasis at primary diagnosis of breast cancer is about 4%. The German guidelines give clear indications for when, whom and how to stage breast cancer patients. Ideally, this should be done via CAT scan of the thorax and abdomen and an additional bone scan. But daily practice shows that the way health care providers handle staging recommendations can vary. To objectify adherence to guidelines we started a nation-wide survey. Methods: Between July and September 2020 we sent out a survey via email to all certified and non certified breast centers and in addition to all Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Germany. We asked for timing of staging, conditions that cause staging and the applied method. In case we did not get back any reply we sent out a reminder. Results: A total of 220 certified breast centers/28 non-certified breast center/48 Departments of Gynecology and Obstetrics who care for breast cancer patients took part in our survey. A general pre-therapeutic staging was performed in 16,4%/39,3%/66,7% of all institutions and a general post-operative staging was performed in 4,1%/0%/6,3% of each institutional type, respectively. In terms of the applied method, 75% of all certified breast centers used a CAT scan and bone scan, while 23,3% primarily use chest x-ray, ultrasound of the abdomen (27,7%) or MRI. As a potential reason for using x-ray and ultrasound the presence of a „low-risk“ breast cancer was mentioned. Summary: Although certified breast centers show the highest adherence to current guidelines, some still perform a general staging or do not use the recommended staging method. The low probability for primary metastatic breast cancer and the use of a reasonable exposure to radiation warrant a critical discussion.

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