Disparities in access to breast care nurses for breast surgeons: A National Breast Cancer Audit survey

Claire Marsh, Jim Wang, James Kollias, Margaret Boult, Janet Rice, Guy Maddern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The involvement of a breast care nurse (BCN) in breast cancer treatment can improve the physical and psychological outcomes and provide the continuity of care and better information about the disease and treatment process. This survey examined the current status of BCNs access to determine the extent and how BCNs were accessed by breast surgeons across Australia and New Zealand in different geographical settings or health service sectors.The survey was disseminated in December 2006. Response rate was 91%.The results show that the majority of Australian and New Zealand breast surgeons either work with a BCN in their practice or can access a BCN outside their practice. Patients are more likely to have access to a BCN immediately after diagnosis while around a third of practices have access to a BCN more than once, usually " after diagnosis" and " after surgery" More public practices have direct access to a BCN than private practices, particularly in the metropolitan and regional areas while access to BCN is poor in rural public and private practices. The difference in overall access, either in the practice or external access (Yes or No but can access a BCN), to a BCN between public and private practices is smaller. Access to a BCN was best in metropolitan public practices and worst in rural private practices with one quarter rural private practices had no access to a BCN and no rural patients can access a BCN more than once in private practice.The results of this survey demonstrated some evidence of disparity in access to a BCN which needs to be reduced through more attention and/or extra resources in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-146
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast care nurse
  • Disparities in treatment
  • Early breast cancer
  • Rural patients
  • Surgery


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