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General Practitioners and Breast Surgeons in France, Germany, Netherlands and the UK show variable breast cancer risk communication profiles

Abstract : Background: No information is available on the attitudes of General Practitioners (GPs) and Breast Surgeons (BSs) to their delivery of genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factor information about breast cancer. The aim of this study was to describe the Breast Cancer Risk Communication Behaviours (RCBs) reported by GPs and BSs in four European countries and to determine the relationships between their RCBs and their socio-occupational characteristics. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires assessing breast cancer risk communication behaviours using vignettes were mailed to a sample of Breast Surgeons (BS) and General Practitioners (GP) working in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK (N = 7292). Their responses to questions about the risk factors were first ordered and compared by specialty and country after making multivariate adjustments. Rather than defining a standard Risk Presentation Format (RPF) a priori, the various RPFs used by the respondents were analyzed using cluster analysis. Results: Family history and hormonal replacement therapy were the risk factors most frequently mentioned by the 2094 respondents included in this study. Lifestyle BC risk factors such as obesity and alcohol were rarely/occasionally mentioned, but this point differed (p < 0.001) depending on the country and the specialty of the providers involved. Five distinct RPF profiles including the numerical/verbal presentation of absolute/relative risks were identified. The most frequently encountered RPF (34.2%) was characterized by the fact that it included no negative framing of the risks, i.e., the probability of not developing cancer was not mentioned. Age, specialty and country of practice were all found to be significant determinants of the RPF clusters. Conclusions: The increasing trend for GPs and BSs to discuss lifestyle risk factors with their patients suggests that this may be a relevant means of improving breast cancer prevention. Physicians' risk communication skills should be improved during their initial and vocational training.
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Claire Julian-Reynier, Anne-Deborah Bouhnik, D. Gareth Evans, Hilary Harris, Christi J van Asperen, et al.. General Practitioners and Breast Surgeons in France, Germany, Netherlands and the UK show variable breast cancer risk communication profiles. BMC Cancer, BioMed Central, 2015, 15 (243), ⟨10.1186/s12885-015-1281-2⟩. ⟨hal-01216078⟩

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