Breast cancer treatment's very multidisciplinary.
So we have to make a case-by-case decision what's right for one woman, may not be right for the other woman.
Our research found that there's an intersection between quality and cost.
This research was actually focused on looking at the re-operation rate in patients undergoing lumpectomy for breast cancer.
There's two ways that, in general, we can operate on a patient to remove a lump, one is to do a lumpectomy and remove the lump and save the woman's breast.
The other option is a mastectomy where the entire breast is removed.
No one of them is superior to the other, but obviously very different ways of getting to that point.
What is interesting though is there's a great degree of variability in the ability to perform the surgery at one operation.
In Canada that re-operation rate is twenty-three percent, so there's a lot of variability suggesting that there's some quality issues at play that are coming into our care of women with breast conserving surgery.
So we developed a model where basically we looked at the re-operation rates and we said if you had to have re-operations, what is the downstream cost for every woman that has to have a re-operation, versus a woman who has the original operation and has one definitive operation.
And if you take all the patients in our province in British Columbia, we hypothesize that if we could decrease the re-operation rate from 23% down to, ideally, a ten-percent raise, that would be a savings of two million dollars, which is not insignificant.
And the process of improving quality and saving money you actually improve upon the patient wellness, decrease re-operation rates, decreased anxiety, improved cosmesis, and all these things have an impact on the patient down the road.
Ultimately, if they have less operations they are less likely to have more aggressive treatment, such as mastectomy and reconstruction.
Also the cost savings could then be reinvested back into the healthcare system for other things such as providing further care for patients with breast cancer.