Background: Little is known about the incorporation of breast cancer risk reduction therapies into clinical practice.
Methods: We assessed factors related to physicians' performance of breast cancer risk reduction practices through a self-administered survey. Subjects were California physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, or obstetrics/gynecology, identified through the AMA Masterfile. Physicians reported their breast cancer risk reduction practices (initiating patient counseling, referring patients for genetic evaluation, and prescribing tamoxifen or raloxifene) as well as barriers to counseling.
Results: Of 1647 eligible physicians, 822 responded. Eighty-six percent reported initiating counseling, 45% referred a patient for genetic evaluation, 31% prescribed raloxifene, and 11% prescribed tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention in the past year. The leading frequent barriers to counseling were "not enough time" (40.3%) and "insufficiently informed about risk reduction options" (19.1%). Multivariate analysis showed that a training and role factors scale was negatively associated with all risk reduction practices, and number of breast cancer diagnoses per year was positively associated with referring for genetic evaluation and prescribing chemoprevention.
Conclusions: Physicians in primary care specialties report participation in several breast cancer risk reduction activities. Issues related to physician training and role in risk reduction affect the implementation of these practices.