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Maria Leadbeater
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 19, Iss. 2, 21 Feb 2013, pp 93 - 97

An audit was undertaken of people with a diagnosis of breast cancer who were referred to a community palliative care specialist nursing team over a 12-month period, to explore the reasons for referral to the service and the duration of involvement with the service. Breast cancer patients accounted for 10% of the total referrals to the specialist service, with symptom management (including pain control) and emotional support being the main reasons for referral. The majority of people referred with breast cancer had metastatic breast cancer (87%); interestingly, 13% had primary breast cancer. The mean duration of intervention was 3 months and 1 week. Referrals seemed to occur late in patients' disease trajectories, and total numbers were lower than might be expected. It may be concluded that there is scope for the specialist palliative care team to be a more integral part of care for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

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