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Nurse Practioners in Britain as Good at Detecting Breast Cancer in Patients as Surgeons

Nurse Practioners in Britain as Good at Detecting Breast Cancer in Patients as Surgeons

CC photo courtesy of aleera

United Press International

June 18, 2010

Specially trained nurse practitioners and surgeons were found to detect breast abnormalities at similar rates, researchers in Wales reported.

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Researchers at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Wales — which treats nearly 300 women with breast cancer a year — asked a specially trained nurse practitioner and consultant surgeon to do breast assessments.

“This study aimed to test the theory that trained nurse practitioners can perform an important role in assessing new patients in breast cancer clinics to ensure that they are seen as quickly as possible,” lead author Gary Osborn said in a statement.

Osborn and colleagues had 126 women – who came to symptomatic breast disease clinic over a 13-month period – examined by the nurse practitioner and the surgeon.

The study, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, said 37 discrete lumps were discovered in 35 of the women, with the consultant surgeon missing two breast cysts and the nurse practitioner missing one. Both the surgeon and nurse recorded the same results in 34 of the 37 assessments, giving an agreement rate of 92 percent. Nine of the women had breast cancer, the study said.

Osborn suggested nurse practitioners could help ensure no delays in assessment and diagnosis in light of doctor shortages.

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