Medicine And The Media

Improving odds in the cancer lottery

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 14 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1031
  1. Irene M Peat, consultant in clinical oncology
  1. Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust

    Breast cancer is in the news again--October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The last time the topic was scrutinised by the media the publicity was mainly unfavourable--mismanagement, delayed diagnoses, and services not available or poorly coordinated, with wide national variation. This exposure of the “breast cancer lottery,” however--with additional lobbying from influential patient groups, charities, and the clinical oncology fraternity--has led to the Calman review of cancer services, and a working party is about to report on the organisation of specialist multidisciplinary breast cancer units designed to ensure equal access for all patients with the disease. Is the pace of change fast enough for the critics? I was dreading another round of horror stories detailing our mistakes and …

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