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Open Access Research article

The association between general practitioners’ attitudes towards breast cancer screening and women’s screening participation

Line Flytkjær Jensen123*, Thomas Ostersen Mukai123, Berit Andersen4 and Peter Vedsted13

Author Affiliations

1 The Research Unit for General Practice, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark

2 Section for General Medical Practice, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark

3 The Research Centre for Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care (CaP), Bartholins Allé 2, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark

4 Department for Public Health Programs, Randers Regional Hospital, Skovlyvej 1, 8930, Randers NØ, Central Denmark Region, Denmark

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:254  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-254

Published: 18 June 2012

Abstract

Background

Breast cancer screening in Denmark is organised by the health services in the five regions. Although general practitioners (GPs) are not directly involved in the screening process, they are often the first point of contact to the health care system and thus play an important advisory role. No previous studies, in a health care setting like the Danish system, have investigated the association between GPs’ attitudes towards breast cancer screening and women’s participation in the screening programme.

Methods

Data on women’s screening participation was obtained from the regional screening authorities. Data on GPs’ attitudes towards breast cancer screening was taken from a previous survey among GPs in the Central Denmark Region. This study included women aged 50-69 years who were registered with a singlehanded GP who had participated in the survey.

Results

The survey involved 67 singlehanded GPs with a total of 13,288 women on their lists. Five GPs (7%) had a negative attitude towards breast cancer screening. Among registered women, 81% participated in the first screening round. Multivariate analyses revealed that women registered with a GP with a negative attitude towards breast cancer screening were 17% (95% CI: 2-34%) more likely to be non-participants compared with women registered with a GP with a positive attitude towards breast cancer screening.

Conclusion

The GPs' attitudes may influence the participation rate even in a system where GPs are not directly involved in the screening process. However, further studies are needed to investigate this association.

Keywords:
Breast cancer screening; Participation; General practice