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Breast Units: a multidisciplinary approach against breast cancer

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A multidisciplinary approach is often the key to successfully face the most arduous challenges, and the fight against breast cancer is no exception. At a time in which swift diagnosis and quality of treatment are crucial, centres such as the Open Clinic at the Fondazione Policlinico Campus Biomedico in Rome represent a beacon of hope for many women who are fighting this battle.

The goal of the Breast Units

Breast Units are dedicated centres in which women who have a suspected tumour can go to. Often, in fact, people are left on their own to embark on a complex journey. Thanks to these Units, patients are taken care of by the multidisciplinary team and can take advantage of tests to find out more about their diagnosis.

«The correct procedure women who have to look into a suspected tumour in the breast must follow is going to centres which focus on this kind of issue, Breast Units, during any phase of the diagnosis – explains Professor Vittorio Altomare, responsible for the Fondazione Policlinico Campus Biomedico’s Breast Unit in Rome -. The Open Clinic is an attempt to bypass the switchboard, bookings, considering waiting times are often too long, in order to provide swift answers. Considering the many times, these alarms are instrumental or clinical, luckily they don’t end up being a real form of cancer».

Professor Vittorio Altomare, responsible for the Fondazione Policlinico Campus Biomedico’s Breast Unit in Rome

The multidisciplinary approach is the most important aspect of Breast Units hence, in these centres, all of the necessary expertise converge. Oncological surgeon, doctor, radiotherapist, experts in diagnosis and pathological anatomy and plastic surgeons in case of reconstructive treatment. By the fact that the journey the patient must go on is long and painful, the team is also joined by experts in personal care, such as therapists, sociologists, and also physioterapists. «A woman who suspects a tumour comes to us without booking, with a public request, from the National Sanitary Service, for an urgent breast consultation. We are able to do the visit, eventual instrumental investigation, mammography, sonogram and the so called core biopsy, which is a modern needle biopsy», explains Altomare.

Team of professionals for a quality performance

Periodic discussions on clinical cases is another very relevant aspect of Breast Units. 

«Once a week, we organise a multidisciplinary meeting to decide together what treatment strategy is best for each patient. In literature, it’s reported that those who go to a breast cancer centre are 18-20% more likely to heal compared to those who go to a single professional. It’s a high percentage and this is due to the multidisciplinary team».

A multidisciplinary unit, beyond the possibility of healing, has to guarantee a quality of performance. The evaluation criteria also depends on complications that can occur and that. Although they don’t put the patient’s life at risk, can significantly influence their quality of life.

«Competent political bodies like the Regione Lazio, the Ministry, make us undergo constant quality controls and us specialists are obliged to follow the so- called guidelines. If one were to not follow them, they would no longer be a recognised breast cancer centre – emphasises the Professor -. At the moment, we’re in constant growth, with numbers recognised by component political bodies, around 350/400 new tumours a year. We’ve reached a very high quality performance, especially in the Open Clinic. Each month, around 100 people come to these clinics, while 30-40% of women confirm their cancer diagnosis, proceeding with the correct care, the 60-70% of women can go home without having to wait forty days».

The evolution of surgery and future projects

Speaking of prevention, professor Altomare announced the seventh edition of “Bicinrosa” on Sunday April 7th. This project is developed and carried out by the Fondazione Policlinico Campus Biomedico. It involves cycling through Rome to raise awareness of prevention and treatment of breast cancer. “Bicinrosa” has three converging goals which need to be communicated as much as possible not only to women, but to everyone. 

 «Going to dedicated and specialised centres such as these Units, a good diet and healthy physical activity. The bicycle recalls, in fact, sustainable mobility and therefore also reducing pollution. This initiative promotes a message of hope of supporting research on breast cancer and endorses healthy lifestyles», explains Altomare.
Breast surgery is, in fact, continuously evolving. Nowadays, contrary to the past, they try to preserve the breast in order to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the patient. «There are many techniques that a dedicated breast surgeon, oncological surgeon has to execute and that foresee small but important precautions of reconstructing the mammary gland . For example, through the use of superficial, cutaneous flaps, especially when a woman has an accumulation of fat that can be bothersome in post-menopausal age, for us, it can actually be very usefulexplains Altomare – We’re able, in fact, to use this part to compensate for what we had to remove because of the tumor. It’s  extremely important that the surgery be performed by an expert».

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Copyright © 2022 Revée News. Periodico di informazione sul mondo Chirurgia e del Benessere | Registrazione Tribunale di Torino n. 21 il 17/10/2023 |
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