Successful Repatriation of Breast Cancer Surveillance for High-Risk Women to the UK National Health Service Breast Screening Programme

Published:October 27, 2017DOI:



      Since April 2013, the UK’s National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) centers have been obliged to provide services for women at the highest risk of breast cancer, including those carrying highly penetrant single gene mutations (BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53). Since then, such individuals previously undergoing surveillance in the Royal Marsden Hospital were referred to their local NHSBSP centers. We aimed to assess patient experience of surveillance provided by local NHSBSP services at 1 and 3 years after repatriation.

      Patients and Methods

      High-risk gene mutation carriers referred to the NHSBSP for breast cancer surveillance were identified from a departmental database in the Cancer Genetics Unit and invited to complete questionnaires about their experience of surveillance under this new pathway, first in 2014 and again in 2016.


      Three hundred forty-six individuals were invited to participate in 2014, of whom 182 responded (53%). A total of 464 patients were invited in 2016, of whom 246 (53%) completed the second questionnaire. Ninety-four percent of patients with residual breast tissue received some screening at the first (n = 161) and second (n = 185) time points. Ninety-one percent of patients (n = 146) received at least recommended surveillance in the year preceding the initial survey, a proportion decreasing slightly by the second time point (n = 164, 87%). Seventeen percent of individuals required additional diagnostic investigations, with cancers detected in 2%. These proportions remained stable between surveys.


      Repatriation of high-risk individuals from Royal Marsden Hospital to NHSBSP centers has been successfully accomplished. Most individuals received appropriate recommended annual surveillance. Further improvements are required to ensure equal and timely provision of recommended surveillance.


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