Background: Several international guidelines have recommended the involvement of general practitioners (GPs) in screening programs, but current evidence suggests this is very difficult. We implemented a survey to understand the attitudes, knowledge, and practices regarding colorectal cancer screening of GPs in the Lazio region.
Methods: Survey of all GPs working in 13 of the 50 districts in Lazio using a mail-in questionnaire.
Results: Out of 1192 GPs, 699 responded (59%). Ninety-four percent consider CRC a preventable disease. Knowledge about oncological screenings is higher in GPs using the guidelines as source of information. Twenty-five percent properly recommend the available screening tests for colorectal cancer, 22% do not recommend any, 6% under-recommend, and 47% over-recommend. Adequate knowledge of oncological screenings is positively associated with correct recommendation. Thirty-two percent of GPs recommend inappropriate follow-up tests for patients with positive fecal occult blood test.
Conclusions: The low response rate reveals the lack of GP's interest in screening. Knowledge about screening and use of guidelines as sources of scientific information are important factors to improve attitudes about screening, but there is a large percentage of well-informed GPs who do not recommend colorectal cancer screening at all. Currently, many GPs do not properly follow the patients up after a positive FOBT.