PD MD Heiko B. G. Franz
Every year around 50,000 women in Germany are diagnosed with breast cancer. For those affected, this entails a fundamental change to their living conditions. They are pulled out of their everyday life and have to deal with surgery, chemotherapy and much more. Whom should I contact? Where do I receive treatment? Such questions also come to the fore.
In order to orient the patient, the German Cancer Society and the German Society for Senology award medical centres with the "Certified Breast Center" seal of approval. Since September 2005, the breast center of our clinic has become one of 11 certified breast centers in Lower Saxony.
Certified breast centers must meet extensive professional and qualitative requirements. Each year, certain minimum numbers must be met, such as 150 first operations, 300 mammographies or 50 palliative and adjuvant chemotherapies. The breast-conserving operation is another quality criterion. It should be at least 70% for smaller tumors. In the breast center of our clinic this factor was 77% for all tumors in 2004.
All nursing and medical staff must be regularly trained and further educated. Weekly interdisciplinary tumor conferences are another example from the list of criteria. The feedback from the patients is also part of the quality assurance. They should be consulted regularly.
In addition, the treatment process must be organized in such a way that the first patient is treated according to the same audited guidelines and quality standards as the hundredth. This establishes a "red thread", which goes through all the steps from diagnosis to therapy and follow-up care. Many steps have to be interlocked.
The breast center includes:
Apart from medical treatment, psychological support and the integration into support groups are also part of being a certified breast center. The psychologist Ursula Nuenemann is the contact person, and the cooperation with the Association for aftercare for cancer patients has been very close for many years. For example, it involves getting a breast prostheses, contact with the medical office is also very important for the patients. This gets established already during the stationary stay.
The great advantage of the clinic is in its short distances: all participating clinics are located directly on site at the Cellerstraße. Also all hospital employees are working exclusively for the breast center.
In addition to the medical-technical quality features, certified breast centers must also demonstrate a quality management system. Separate from the certification, the breast center has already participated in performance comparisons and sent data to the project office for quality assurance in Hanover. It is clear from this evaluation that the clinic is ranked 9th out of all 115 Lower Saxony clinics, with 257 cases in 2004 alone.