Physician non-professional cancer experience and ovarian cancer screening practices

Despite recommendations to the contrary, many physicians are recommending ovarian cancer screening in low risk women. This study examines the association between GP’s nonprofessional experience with cancer and their adherence to ovarian cancer screening guidelines. A cross-sectional survey was sent to a random sample of 3,200 US primary care physicians, general internists and obstetrician-gynecologists. Physicians with their own history of cancer, or a family member/close friend/coworker with cancer were considered to have a non-professional experience with cancer. Unadjusted analyses showed that 86.0% of physicians with no non-professional cancer reported adherence to ovarian cancer guidelines, compared to 69.2% of those that had a non-professional experience. This study determines that there is an association between a GPs non-professional experience with cancer and their cancer screening practices. Further research is necessary to understand this unintended decision, to increase GPs awareness of such influences and to develop strategies to ensure best practice.

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