Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) contributes significantly to the morbidity and mortality of Australians. The introduction of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program has focussed attention on the role of the general practitioner in CRC screening. However, their increasing role across the management spectrum of CRC remains poorly researched.
Objective: This article examines the published literature on the existing and potential roles of the GP in the detection and management of CRC. Evidence about the existing and potential role of the GP was found through a literature search on Medline, PubMed, epidemiological evidence and recent guidelines.
Discussion: The role of the GP in CRC management varies. Some GPs play many roles such as advocate, facilitator, supporter, educator and counsellor. The role of the GP is influenced by GP-specialist communication, practice location, and patient and GP factors. There is a potential to increase this role, especially in providing psychosocial support and counselling for both the patient and their family.