Ten pct. of breast cancer diagnoses wrong

When it comes to breast cancer one out of ten women who get a second opinion, get a different diagnosis.

It appears that, among other things, tumors and metastases get overlooked, which could have serious consequences for life expectancy and treatment. This says the Alexander Monro Hospital in Bilthoven, which focuses specifically on the treatment of breast cancer.

The Alexander Monro Hospital is the only hospital in the Netherlands that focuses only on breast cancer. Not only do 10 percent of women receive a different diagnosis at Monro Hospital, but 15 to 20 percent of women are offered a different treatment plan.

In the 16 months that Monro Hospital has been in business, 1,550 patients were seen and 510 surgeries have been performed. 250 patients visited the hospital for a second opinion, and in 10 percent of the cases the diagnosis was changed. According to oncologist Dr Anja Timmer: "There were six women who were said to that their underarm was clean, but before the surgery we saw that there were indeed metastases. That obviously has implications for treatment. In fifteen women we saw that the tumor was in a different place or was of a different size than was declared at the first hospital."

Dr. Timmer stresses that their different findings do not mean that others are doing something wrong. "But we see that we in our hospital can bring a personal difference for the patient." says Director Jan van Bodegom," We can say that specialization works; the complexity of breast cancer care requires a specialized and personal approach."

Hans Gelderblom, chairman of the Dutch Association of Medical Oncologists, finds the percentage of different diagnosis "unlikely high".  "I would like to see those cases. For example good to malignant would be worrisome. It has been proven that breast cancer care in our country, including those in the smaller hospitals, belong to the highest level in Europe. And the quarter other treatments, which the Monro offers, does not necessarily have to be better. Whether a specialized team enhances the quality, is the question. It is also about the dedication."