JOURNAL ARTICLE

Screening for colorectal cancer. Knowledge, attitudes and practices of South Australian GPs

D Weller, J Hiller, J Beilby, A Woodward
Medical Journal of Australia 1994 May 16, 160 (10): 620-4
8177107

OBJECTIVE: To examine knowledge, attitudes and practices of South Australian general practitioners (GPs) in relation to screening for colorectal cancer.

DESIGN: A descriptive study in which data were collected by means of postal questionnaires.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Use of screening tests for colorectal cancer, knowledge in relation to colorectal cancer prevention, opinions on organisation and delivery of colorectal cancer screening.

RESULTS: The response rate to the survey was 66.3%. GPs showed considerable variability in screening practices, particularly for individuals who are at no increased risk of colorectal cancer. Mass screening with the faecal occult blood test (FOBT), particularly if it is centrally coordinated, was not widely endorsed, in contrast with strategies which provide a central role for the GP. On the whole, GPs preferred patient-initiated, rather than doctor-initiated, screening. We found a number of knowledge deficits in relation to FOBT screening; many GPs felt they had inadequate training in this area.

CONCLUSION: Clear and consistent guidelines for colorectal cancer screening are required. Medical education about colorectal cancer should also be addressed.

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