The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (NBCCF) is made up of millions of breast cancer activists nationwide. We get questions every day from breast cancer patients about their care. Everyone has the same basic question. What can I do to get quality care? This guide is our answer to that question. It is for everyone facing breast cancer and everyone who wants to help them.
This is our best advice for getting good breast cancer care. It's what we tell our families and friends. Our advice is based on:
NBCCF believes that being informed can help you get better care. Patients who know more about their care choices tend to worry less and get better results.1
Quality Breast Cancer Care: NBCCF's Vision
Doctors and hospitals describe quality health care in a confusing way. They call it "the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional medical knowledge."2 Others say what quality is not. They might describe it as:
But what about the patient's point of view? Of course you need the right treatment and drugs at the right time. But the "right" care can be a very personal choice. Two patients with the same diagnosis may choose different treatments.
Still, quality care is not just personal taste. It's not a popularity contest either. Sure, you want to avoid rude doctors and long waits. But you can get good parking, sparkling water while you wait, a relaxed doctor visit--and leave with the wrong diagnosis. That's why it's important to have doctors and nurses who:
Good breast cancer care is based on evidence. This means that medical research has shown that the care could help you.3 But other parts of your care are just as important. NBCCF's vision of quality care brings together six core values:
How to Use this Guide
There is a lot of information in this guide. We strongly recommend that a friend or loved one reads this guide with you. She or he can help you keep track of and sort all the information. We wish this guide could answer all your questions about breast cancer. But we know it does not. There are no best answers for many important questions. For others, there are no answers at all. NBCCF is fighting for more and better research to solve the mysteries of breast cancer. For now, we hope this guide will help you get better breast cancer care.
A Few Tips for Using the Guide
Use our glossary. We have tried to write this guide in plain language. But there are some medical terms you need to know. Is there a word colored red that you don't know? You will find the word's meaning in the glossary section of this site.
Choose your reading wisely. There are thousands of books, brochures, and web site that tell you about breast cancer. But you don't need that many resources. We won't waste your time sending you to hundreds of breast cancer groups or resources. Instead we give you the most important information and a few resources you can trust.
Most of the groups we suggest you contact give helpful information on their web sites. We send you to one page of the web site. We think the information on this page is correct and helpful. We have not reviewed other pages of this web site. We do not know if other pages of the web site are correct or helpful.
And remember, the sites we send you to will also have links. NBCCF has not reviewed those links. So we can't recommend them.
How to Get Good Care for Breast Cancer
Cómo obtener la mejor atención médica para el cáncer de seno
Please Tell Us What You Think!
Keeping It Current
You Can Start by clicking any of the Core Values below:
1. Siminoff LA. Improving communication with cancer
patients. Oncology (Huntington) 1992; 6(10): 83-7.
© 2001, 2002, 2006 National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund