Improving outcomes in breast cancer

Woman holding a pink ribbon
Woman holding a pink ribbon as an awareness of Breast Cancer Day (credit: Angiola Harry/Unsplash)

Cambridge University-led collaborative research has addressed the challenge of improving health outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer. PREDICT – a powerful, user-friendly, web-based prediction tool – supports decision-making about potentially life-altering use of chemotherapy.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and affects more than two million women each year worldwide (World Cancer Research Fund statistics). Women with early breast cancer are often faced with making decisions about whether to have adjuvant chemotherapy – treatment given in addition to surgery to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.

One risk is over-treatment: women may have an invasive and unpleasant therapy that perhaps they do not need, since it will not increase their chances of survival. Another risk is under-treatment, where the therapy is not provided even though it might improve outcome.

Information provided by the PREDICT tool helps patients make decisions about whether or not adjuvant chemotherapy is right for them.

The value of the PREDICT tool has been recognised by policymakers and professional organisations worldwide. By improving the effective and efficient targeting of treatment, PREDICT has globally contributed towards better clinical outcomes, reduced patient distress and avoided unnecessary healthcare procedures and costs.

Endorsed for use by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the American Joint Committee on Cancer, and other major national and international bodies, PREDICT is used in more 200 countries and is accessed 350,000 times per year, supporting optimisation of decisions and counselling of women.

In the UK alone, PREDICT has been used with at least 100,000 women, of whom at least 18,500 have been able to make better decisions about chemotherapy thanks to the more precise risk estimates offered by PREDICT, contributing towards improved prognosis, reduced distress and decreased healthcare costs.