DKG certifies excellent quality of care for women at increased risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer
If there is a high incidence of breast and/or ovarian cancer in the family or if women develop the disease at a young age, this is usually due to hereditary causes. At the Centre for Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer (FBREK) of the Hannover Medical School (MHH), those affected and those seeking advice are cared for by an interdisciplinary team from Human Genetics, the Breast Centre, the Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Radiology and Pathology. After a comprehensive assessment by the independent certification institute OnkoZert of the German Cancer Society (DKG), the DKG now certifies that the centre provides excellent care for families at risk.
"Knowledge about the hereditary basis of breast and ovarian cancer has developed very rapidly in recent years. As the FBREK Centre, we can ensure that this new knowledge reaches those affected directly," says Professor Brigitte Schlegelberger, head of the FBREK Centre and the Institute of Human Genetics at the MHH.
Professor Dr. Peter Hillemanns, Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of the MHH, is also pleased: "We are very glad to have gained another organ-specific centre in the Oncology Centre of our CCC with the certified FBREK Centre. Families at risk can be sure to receive quality-assured counselling, risk analysis as well as genetic diagnostics and, if necessary, targeted therapy at our centre."
The certificate is awarded for three years. The fulfilment of the professional requirements and the further development of the centre are checked annually in so-called monitoring audits by experts.
As part of the joint project "German Consortium for Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer", the FBREK Centre of the MHH contributes to establishing care for familial breast and/or ovarian cancer nationwide and to putting the latest scientific findings into practice. To ensure and compare the current and guideline-compliant treatment standards, the more than 20 centres in the consortium have committed themselves to undergo certification via OnkoZert.
Coordinated care in an interdisciplinary network
The services offered by the FBREK Centre range from specialised genetic counselling and genetic analysis to the possibility of an intensified early detection programme, which is supervised by the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology. Women with pre-existing breast cancer or planned prophylactic surgery, have the opportunity to come to the Breast Centre for an examination and consultation.
Cases with unclear clinical, radiological or molecular genetic findings or cases in which the indication for prophylactic surgery is unclear are discussed in the FBREK Genetics Board, in which specialists from different disciplines participate.
"The interdisciplinary cooperation not only gives us a high level of know-how, but also means that the individual steps from genetic diagnostics to treatment and aftercare can be well coordinated," says human genetics specialist Dr Hannah Wallaschek, coordinator of the FBREK Centre.
Those affected also find access to psycho-oncological help and support groups. The centre is in close contact with the patient organisation BRCA Network, which offers help with familial cancer. In addition to the treatment partners at the site, there are cooperations with other organ cancer centres in the region, which also undergo strict quality control as part of the certification process.
Centre Director Professor Dr. Brigitte Schlegelberger (left) with Dr. Tim Ripperger, PhD, Senior Physician and Team Leader Applied Genetics at the Institute of Human Genetics; Copyright: Karin Kaiser/MHH