The value of navigators in breast cancer management in a South African hospital

Čačala, S.R.
Farrow, H.
Makhanya, S.
Couch, D.G.
Joffe, M.
Stopforth, L.
Background: Specialist breast cancer nurses (BCNs) have improved the psychological care and follow-up rates of breast cancer (BC) patients. This study sought to determine if breast cancer research workers (BCRWs) as de facto BCNs impacted patients' adherence to treatment by comparing groups with and without these patient navigators; hence assessing our need for BCNs. Methods: Two groups BC patients booked for primary chemotherapy compared. Study group 1 (SG1): no BCRWs/BCNs. Study group 2 (SG2): BCRWs involvement. Assessment of numbers completing primary chemotherapy, undergoing surgery post-neoadjuvant chemotherapy and BCRWs interventions. Results: SG1: n = 281, 25-89y, mean 52.7y, Stage 4: 35.6%, Stage 3: 64.4%. SG2: n = 154, 21-85y, mean 52.6y, Stage 4: 47.4%, Stage 3: 43.3%, Stage 2: 9%. Primary chemotherapy not completed SG1: 40.2% (113) versus SG2: 13.5% (21); p < 0.00001. SG1: 88% not completing were lost to follow-up. Excluding peri-chemotherapy deaths and discontinuation: SG1: 37.1% did not complete chemotherapy versus SG2: 2.6%, p < 0.00001. SG2: BCRWs: 107 interventions for 58 (37.7%) patients. Therapeutic breast surgery SG1: 103/181 (56.9%) versus SG2: 66/81 (81.5%); p < 0.0001. SG1: main reasons for not having surgery: lost to follow-up during (n = 58) or after (n = 9) chemotherapy. Follow-up SG2: 12-43 months, mortality: 52% (80/154), no lost to follow-ups. SG1: No mortality data. Conclusions: In our setting, BC patients often do not attend or complete treatments. In this study, BCRWs as de-facto BCNs were beneficial for BC patient care, improving chemotherapy compliance and therapeutic surgical interventions. This highlights the need for BCNs for the management of BC patients in South Africa.
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Springer Nature
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Breast cancer,Psychological care,Hospital,South Africa
Čačala SR, Farrow H, Makhanya S, Couch DG, Joffe M, Stopforth L. The Value of Navigators in Breast Cancer Management in a South African Hospital. World J Surg. 2021 May;45(5):1316-1322. doi: 10.1007/s00268-020-05931-2.
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