Are Family Doctors Compliant with Breast Family History Guidelines?


Introduction: Optimizing breast cancer care involves accurate risk assessment. Referrals to secondary care need to be appropriate both in terms of healthcare resource utilisation and the reduction of unnecessary patient anxiety. Aim: This study undertook an evaluation of family doctors compliance with NICE guidelines for asymptomatic family history referrals to a breast unit. Methods: A retrospective audit of general practice in County Donegal was carried out between January 2010 and May 2011. NICE guidelines and IBIS computerised model were used to assess whether referrals were appropriate. Results: 77.6% (90/116) met a criterion for secondary care referral. 51.7% (60/116) met the NICE criteria and 64.7% (75/116) met the IBIS criteria for referral to secondary care. 38.8% (45/116) met both. 6 were of low risk, 45 were of moderate risk and 1 was of high risk. 80.4% (45/56) of the patients who did not meet the NICE criteria, failed to do so because they had one 1st degree relative with breast cancer who was over the age of 40. Conclusion: 77.6% of referrals complied with international criteria for referral to secondary care. A greater understanding of what constitutes appropriate referral of 1st degree relatives would enhance the referral process.

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Thomas, J. , Sugrue, M. , Curran, S. , Furey, M. and Sugrue, R. (2013) Are Family Doctors Compliant with Breast Family History Guidelines?. Advances in Breast Cancer Research, 2, 149-153. doi: 10.4236/abcr.2013.24024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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