A pivotal role for the general practitioner in a mixed mammographic screening model
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Revue d'épidémiologie et de santé publique. - Paris
, p. 150-156
University of Antwerp
Background. - A mixed mammographic screening model presents a country or region with a complex problem. Promoting a significant shift within the target population from opportunistic breast cancer screening to participation in an organised screening programme offers many advantages. The objective was to explore the role of GPs as potential mediators by assessing their specific knowledge, attitudes, and experience on breast cancer and mammographic screening. Methods. - A detailed questionnaire was mailed in 2007 to 1500 GPs randomly sampled from the GP population in the province of Antwerp, Belgium. Levels of knowledge on epidemiology and screening, opinions and attitudes on systematic mammographic screening, and experience with breast cancer and mammography were evaluated. Results. - We received 317 completed questionnaires, 21.1% of the contacted GPs. General knowledge on basic concepts of mammographic screening was average, while the response to an open question on the differences between screening and opportunistic mammography was very limited. More than half of the participants had a positive or realistic attitude towards many aspects of systematic screening, and had satisfactory experience with breast cancer patients in their daily practice (about 82% saw one to four new cases a year). Many (72%) were favourably disposed towards systematic screening organised by the government. Conclusion. - The answers of the GPs suggest a promising potential with regard to the official breast cancer screening programme. Many participants presented qualifications, which could contribute to a change from the mixed model in favour of the official screening system. A number of gaps, however, need to be filled and there is a continuing need to educate physicians on principles and risks and benefits of systematic screening of the target group. (C) 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.