[Quality assurance in colorectal cancer in Europe AD 2011]

P Mroczkowski, S Hac, H Lippert, R Kube
Zentralblatt Für Chirurgie 2013, 138 (6): 643-9

INTRODUCTION: Malignant tumours are the second largest cause of death in Europe. Colorectal cancer takes second place within this group and is responsible for every eighth tumour-related death.

CURRENT SITUATION: Surgical quality assurance requires a prospective observational study, any different type of study is not possible. A complete recording of all treated patients is a prerequisite for quality assurance. Currently, there are quality assurance programmes in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands as well as the multinational study for patients from Germany, Poland and Italy. These projects deliver comprehensive information regarding the treatment of colorectal cancer. However, this information is deeply rooted in the organisation of the health-care system in the given country and is not easily transferable into international settings. Also, an interpretation of the collected data is often possible only within the given health-care system.

FUTURE PERSPECTIVES: First, unified initial diagnostics is a prerequisite for quality assurance -  for the local extent and exclusion / confirmation of distant metastases. Until these criteria are unified, any comparison is limited, including a comparison of survival. Second, quality-of-life is not recorded in any of the current projects. Third, the main focus of a quality assurance project must be on therapy-dependent factors. The most sensible method of quality control remains within the connection of preoperative diagnostics (estimate of a best-case scenario), the surgical technique (the actual result) and a standardised pathological examination (evaluation of the actual result). These parameters can be recorded and compared within a quality assurance project regardless of the limitations of the national health-care systems. There is no alternative to a unified diagnostics model and unified histopathological evaluation, a complete picture of treatment quality is also not possible without systematic analysis of the quality of life.

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