Family physicians' perspectives on ovarian cancer.Cancer Prev Control. 1999 Feb; 3(1):61-7.CP
To describe the knowledge, practices and perspectives of Canadian family physicians regarding ovarian cancer.
A mailed survey questionnaire was followed by a reminder card, a second mailing of the questionnaire and a final reminder card.
A national sample of family physicians was drawn randomly from the membership database of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Knowledge related to ovarian cancer. Practices related to the screening and detection of ovarian cancer. Attitudes towards screening for ovarian cancer. Perceived role in the care of women at risk of, or diagnosed with, ovarian cancer. Perceived educational needs of physicians.
A total of 1079 completed questionnaires were returned, providing a response rate of 56.6%. Although most family physicians were aware of the basic facts about ovarian cancer, there were knowledge limitations related to risk factors, familial ovarian cancer syndromes and symptoms. Practices related to asymptomatic women were found to be mostly in accord with current guidelines and recognized the prevailing lack of evidence for the effectiveness of tests. Areas that were troublesome included the role of screening in high-risk women and knowledge about available tests. Most family physicians indicated that they have an important role to play in the care of women after they have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. They also expressed a high level of interest in obtaining additional information related to ovarian cancer.
This study clearly shows that there is a need for additional research to assist with the development of evidence-based guidelines for women at increased risk of ovarian cancer and for women at no known risk. Pending more definitive evidence, interim guidelines could provide assistance to physicians currently having to make decisions in a context of massive uncertainty. Canadian family physicians would be interested in and would benefit from continuing medical education (CME) initiatives concerning ovarian cancer.