Urologists' and GPs' knowledge of hereditary prostate cancer is suboptimal for prostate cancer counseling: a nation-wide survey in The Netherlands

Fam Cancer. 2012 Jun;11(2):195-200. doi: 10.1007/s10689-011-9500-8.


A family history of prostate cancer (PCa) is an established risk factor for PCa. In case of a positive family history, the balance between positive and adverse effects of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing might be different from the general population, for which the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) showed a beneficial effect on mortality. This, however, went at the cost of considerable overtreatment. This study assessed Dutch physicians' knowledge of heredity and PCa and their 'post-ERSPC' attitude towards PCa testing, including consideration of family history. In January 2010, all Dutch urologists and clinical geneticists (CGs) and 300 general practitioners (GPs) were invited by email to complete an anonymous online survey, which contained questions about hereditary PCa and their attitudes towards PCa case-finding and screening. 109 urologists (31%), 69 GPs (23%) and 46 CGs (31%) completed the survey. CGs had the most accurate knowledge of hereditary PCa. All but 1 CG mentioned at least one inherited trait with PCa, compared to only 25% of urologists and 9% of GPs. CGs hardly ever counseled men about PCa testing. Most urologists and GPs discuss possible risks and benefits before testing for PCa with PSA. Remarkably, 35-40% of them do not take family history into consideration. Knowledge of urologists and GPs about heredity and PCa is suboptimal. Hence, PCa counseling might not be optimal for men with a positive family history. Multidisciplinary guidelines on this topic should be developed to optimize personalized counseling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Counseling
  • Data Collection
  • Family
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Physicians*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / analysis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Supplementary concepts

  • Prostate cancer, familial