Breast cancer test query

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INVESTIGATIONS are continuing to identify the cause of unreliable results of hormone testing of tissue from breast cancer patients, MHKs heard.

It was announced last week that Noble’s Hospital is reviewing the cases of a number of patients who are receiving treatment for breast cancer.

A total of 22 patients have been contacted directly by the hospital and have been invited to attend a clinic appointment to discuss their treatment with the breast care team.

The issue is not with the diagnosis of breast cancer, which is correct in all cases, but with the subsequent hormone testing of tissue which is carried out to decide the appropriate additional treatment for individual patients.

It is likely that a similar number of further patients will be identified by the end of the review which could look at cases going back three years.

Replying to a Keys question from Brenda Cannell (Douglas East) about why the hormone testing was wrongly diagnosed, Mr Anderson said: ‘It would be wrong to speculate while the investigations are on-going and limited information is available. To do so would not be of benefit to our patients.

Mrs Cannell said she was aware of ‘at least one confirmed case’ where a patient had developed secondary cancer.

But Mr Anderson declined to comment on areas of clinical confidentiality.

He said: ‘The department has already notified all patients currently known to be affected. Arrangements are being made for these women to be seen as soon as possible. Tests are being undertaken on a further set of results at a laboratory in the UK. Any further patients who need to have their treatment reviewed will be seen promptly. At present, all hormone tissue testing is being undertaken by a laboratory in the UK.’

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