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J Gen Intern Med. 2014 May;29(5):741-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-014-2768-2. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Accuracy of ovarian and colon cancer risk assessments by U.S. physicians.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Box 354982, Seattle, WA, 98195-4982, USA, lmb@uw.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Studies have shown a mismatch between published cancer screening and genetic counseling referral recommendations and physician-reported screening and referral practices. Inaccurate cancer risk assessment is one potential cause of this mismatch.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess U.S. physicians' ability to accurately determine a woman's colon and ovarian cancer risk level.

DESIGN, PARTICIPANTS:

Cross-sectional survey of U.S. family physicians, general internists, and obstetrician-gynecologists. A twelve-page questionnaire with a vignette of a woman's annual examination included a question about the patient's level of colon and ovarian cancer risk. The final study sample included 1,555 physicians weighted to represent practicing U.S. physicians nationally.

MAIN MEASURE:

Accuracy of physicians' ovarian and colon cancer risk assessments.

KEY RESULTS:

Overall, most physicians accurately assessed women's risk of ovarian (57.0%, CI 54.3, 59.6) and colon cancer (62.0%, CI 59.4, 64.6). However, 27.1% (CI 23.0, 31.6) of physicians overestimated the ovarian cancer risk among women at the same risk as the general population, and 65.1% (CI 60.2, 69.7) underestimated ovarian cancer risk among women at much higher risk than the general population. Physicians overestimated colon more than ovarian cancer risk (38.0%, CI 35.4, 40.6 vs. 27.1%, CI 23.0, 31.6) for women at the same risk as the general population.

CONCLUSIONS:

Physicians' misestimation of patient ovarian and colon cancer risk may put average risk patients in jeopardy of unnecessary screening and higher risk patients in jeopardy of missed opportunities for prevention or early detection of cancers.

PMID:
24519100
PMCID:
PMC4000350
DOI:
10.1007/s11606-014-2768-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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