Exploring factors that might influence primary-care provider discussion of and recommendation for prostate and colon cancer screening.

Published online

Journal Article

Background: Primary-care providers may contribute to the use of low-value cancer screening. Objective: We sought to examine circumstances under which primary-care providers would discuss and recommend two types of cancer screening services across a spectrum of net benefit and other factors known to influence screening. Patients and methods: This was a cross sectional survey of 126 primary-care providers in 24 primary-care clinics in the US. Participants completed surveys with two hypothetical screening scenarios for prostate or colorectal cancer (CRC). Patients in the scenarios varied by age and screening-request status. For each scenario, providers indicated whether they would discuss and recommend screening. Providers also reported on their screening attitudes and the influence of other factors known to affect screening (short patient visits, worry about lawsuits, clinical reminders/performance measures, and screening guidelines). We examined associations between providers' attitudes and their screening recommendations for hypothetical 90-year-olds (the lowest-value screening). Results: Providers reported they would discuss cancer screening more often than they would recommend it (P<0.001). More providers would discuss and recommend screening for CRC than prostate cancer (P<0.001), for younger than older patients (P<0.001), and when the patient requested it than when not (P<0.001). For a 90-year-old patient, every point increase in cancer-specific screening attitude increased the likelihood of a screening recommendation (30% for prostate cancer and 30% for CRC). Discussion: While most providers' reported practice patterns aligned with net benefit, some providers would discuss and recommend low-value cancer screening, particularly when faced with a patient request. Conclusion: More work appears to be needed to help providers to discuss and recommend screening that aligns with value.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kistler, CE; Vu, M; Sutkowi-Hemstreet, A; Gizlice, Z; Harris, RP; Brewer, NT; Lewis, CL; Dolor, RJ; Barclay, C; Sheridan, SL

Published Date

  • 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 /

Start / End Page

  • 179 - 190

PubMed ID

  • 29844698

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29844698

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1178-7074

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2147/IJGM.S153887


  • eng

Conference Location

  • New Zealand