Objective: To document the perspectives, practices and knowledge of Canadian gynecologists regarding ovarian cancer.
Design: A mailed survey questionnaire was followed by a reminder card and a second mailing of the questionnaire.
Setting: A sample of all gynecologists practising in Canada.
Main outcome measures: Knowledge related to ovarian cancer. Practices related to the screening and detection of ovarian cancer. Attitudes towards ovarian cancer. Perceived role in the care of women at risk of, or diagnosed with, ovarian cancer. Perceived educational needs of gynecologists regarding ovarian cancer.
Results: A total of 504 completed questionnaires were returned, providing a response rate of 46%. Most gynecologists indicated that they knew the basic facts about ovarian cancer and risk factors. Practices related to asymptomatic, low-risk women were found to be mostly in accord with current guidelines and the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of tests. Practices regarding women with suspected early or late-stage ovarian cancer varied, particularly with regard to referral to gynecologic oncologists. Many respondents indicated that they have an important role to play in the care of women after they have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or referred to another specialist. Respondents also expressed interest in obtaining additional information about ovarian cancer.
Conclusions: This study shows that there is a need for the development and dissemination of evidence-based guidelines regarding ovarian cancer. It also pinpoints areas where educational efforts could be directed.