Background: Nationally, gaps exist in the timely and appropriate care of young women with breast cancer. Few women receive genetic and fertility counseling, while contralateral prophylactic mastectomy rates rise. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Breast Cancer direct breast cancer treatment and symptom management, but care of young newly diagnosed women requires providers to combine elements of several guidelines and consider an appropriate order of assessments and treatments utilizing multidisciplinary consultation. In Nebraska, fewer than 300 women under age 50 are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. One-third of these women live rurally, miles from the NCCN Member Institution. Thus, rural physicians encounter these patients infrequently and may lack local specialists with whom to consult and refer, thus challenging the provision of the highest quality care. Purpose: To improve the efficacy and efficiency with which rural oncology care providers recognize and address physical, psychosocial, and decision-making needs of young women with breast cancer through development and delivery of education, multidisciplinary consultation, and clinical pathways. Methods: Baseline, 2-year electronic medical record data on surgical, medical, and supportive oncology practice patterns for women with breast cancer under age 50 were collected from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and collaborating rural cancer centers. Records were hand searched for fertility and genetic data. The PROMIS Global Health Survey and Sexual Function Profile, the Brief Subjective Decision Quality Measure, and a project-specific care satisfaction survey were mailed to these patients. Data were entered into SPSS and descriptive statistics used to identify the project’s starting point. Results: To date, clinics (rural and urban) identified a 2-year total of 199 women with breast cancer, ages 21 to 49 years. Cancers were stage 0 (n=21), 1 (n=50), 2 (n=40), 3 (n=19), 4 (n=3), and unavailable (n=66). Eight clinical pathways based on ER, PR, and HER2 status were developed to guide treatment, considerations, evidence-based neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy, and survivorship care. Pathways, with associated educational webinars and links to NCCN Guidelines, are accessible to providers and patients on the project-derived Pathway to Cure website. Website use and webinar views following program implementation will be reported as will comparison of baseline practice patterns with data at the first 3-month analysis.
Corresponding Author: Robin M. Lally, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN