NCCP launches new guideline for breast cancer treatment

Today (Thursday, 29th June 2023) a new National Clinical Guideline for treatment of patients with breast cancer has been published by the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).

<Breast Guideline Development Group

Under the new guideline, for some patients, their total radiotherapy dose can be provided over a shorter timeframe, i.e. within one week compared with three to five weeks while other new techniques recommended will reduce the burden on other patients attending for radiotherapy treatment. The new guideline is an update to 2015 guidelines and includes 10 new recommendations, as well as updated evidence to support previous recommendations.

Risteard O'Laoide

Professor Risteárd Ó Laoide, National Director, NCCP, said: “This is welcome news for patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The guideline sets out recommendations that will mean shorter treatment time for some patients, and therefore fewer in-hospital appointments. This will create some additional capacity in the service, meaning more patients can be treated in the same timeframe than previously.”

Eve O'Toole V3

The guideline was developed by a multi-disciplinary group chaired by Dr Eve OToole, Head of Evidence and Quality Hub in the NCCP, who said:  “We worked with radiation oncology clinicians and engaged with patient representatives to develop this evidence-based guideline. We integrated their clinical experience and patient values with the best current evidence to formulate recommendations for clinical practice. The patient focus group provided views of those who are most impacted by its recommendations, and their valuable feedback shaped the overall guideline.”

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ireland, and the most common cancer among females (National Cancer Registry Ireland, 2022). According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI), there was an average of 3,392 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in Ireland annually between 2018–2020.

Kathleen O'Connor

A breast cancer survivor and participant in the patient focus group, Ms Kathleen O’Connor said: “It is fantastic to see these new recommendations. I was delighted to be involved in the patient focus group as I feel that incorporating the patient’s perspective when developing guidance is really valuable.”

Last updated on: 30 / 06 / 2023