New tool ALERT! helps to understand health problems until 14 years after breast cancer
The treatment of breast cancer has improved enormously in recent years. Great news off course, but many of these women experience health problems - sometimes for many years - after their treatment. Nivel and the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Center (IKNL) conducted a study of the health problems women are experiencing up to 14 years following diagnosis of breast cancer. Based upon their findings, they developed the awareness tool ALERT!. It helps patients and healthcare providers to assess whether the symptoms the patient is mentioning can be addressed as (late) health effects of the treatment for breast cancer.
Problems up to fourteen years following diagnosis of breast cancer
Women who have or have suffered from breast cancer visit their GP more often than women of the same age who never had the disease. There is a wide range of health problems, because they are different for each age group and each treatment. But it is clear that women who have or have had breast cancer are more likely to suffer from coughing, infections, fatigue, sleep disorders, osteoporosis and lymphedema. These issues persist up to 14 years following diagnosis of breast cancer.
ALERT!, a tool for patients and healthcare providers
The tool ALERT! supports patients and healthcare providers in understanding the complaints. It offers immediate grips for considering whether the complaints are related to the treatment for breast cancer. The tool’s results can be used to create a more personalised aftercare programme for the patient.
The ALERT! tool offers both care providers and patients a unique instrument to talk about late effects on breast cancer. Joke Korevaar, PhD Coordinator research program General Practice Care
PSCCR Register as data source
Data from the Primary Secondary Cancer Care Registry (PSCCR) are used in developing the tool. The register contains unique information, based upon the linking of data from several databases: the data from Netherlands Cancer Registration (NKR) on breast tumours and primary treatment are linked to the data from Nivel Primary Care Database on the healthcare questions these patients present to their GPs. This method of data linking can also be used in the future, for other types of cancer.
About the research project
Nivel and IKNL developed the Primary Secondary Cancer Care Registry (PSCCR) and the ALERT! tool in partnership. Setting up the PSCCR and creating the tool were funded by a ZonMw grant under the programme ‘Good Use Medication’.
This research project relates to Nivel's research program General Practice Care (lead by Joke Korevaar, PhD).