New breast cancer standards emphasize individualized patient care

April 24, 2023
Revised standards for breast cancer centers layout the optimal care pathway for patients and focus on shared decision-making.

To address the unique needs of today’s patients with breast disease and breast cancer, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) has released new standards for accredited centers that place patients and their care journey — from diagnosis to survivorship — at the center of the framework.

The revised standards represent a paradigm shift to put the individualized needs of patients first.

Some of the standards were unchanged and were reordered to fit the nine-domain format of other ACS Quality Programs. Other standards were completely rewritten to focus on the patient care journey from screening and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, with an emphasis on providing value-based care with multidisciplinary support.

Some of the most significant changes appear in Chapter 5: Patient Care: Expectations and Protocol. Some notable changes include asking centers to:

  • Involve patients in the decision-making process every step of the way and ensure they have the necessary educational materials to make the best decisions for their care
  • Identify potential barriers that may prevent optimal patient care and try to preemptively address complications that may arise after surgery or treatment, such as mobility concerns or lymphedema
  • Focus on preparing patients for surgery and treatment in a comprehensive manner
  • Refer patients to prehabilitation, exercise therapy, or physical therapy when appropriate
  • Develop and implement a protocol to address patient navigation throughout the patient journey
  • Consider alternatives to narcotics for postoperative pain management
  • Discuss and document the benefits and risks of cancer treatments with the patient, including toxicities

ACS release