Understanding and Practices of Gynaecologists Related to Breast Cancer Screening, Detection, Treatment and Common Breast Diseases: A Study from India
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The knowledge of breast cancer risk factors and screening practices in a community is largely influenced by the practising gynaecologist in that area. We assessed the understanding and knowledge of gynaecologists about breast cancer: screening, risk factors, clinical signs, management and common benign breast diseases.
This cross-sectional study was carried out in Uttar Pradesh, India, from April to September 2017. One hundred and fifty-two gynaecologists were assessed using a self-designed and validated questionnaire to assess the knowledge of risk factors, clinical signs, screening practices and management of breast cancer as well as common benign breast diseases. Further, the results were compared based on their education: undergraduates (UGs; no residency experience in obstetrics and gynaecology) versus postgraduates (PGs; residency experience in obstetrics and gynaecology).
67 and 82.2% of gynaecologists possess excellent to very good knowledge of risk factors and clinical signs of breast cancer, respectively. The knowledge of PGs seems to be better than UGs (p < 0.01). 84.9% participants were aware that breast cancer screening decreases breast cancer-related mortality, and 61.2% considered CBE as most relevant screening investigation (66.1% PGs and 41.9% UGs; p = 0.04). 30.2% regularly offer breast cancer screening at their centre. 58.5% did not consider screening mammography as cost-effective for their patients (57.9% PGs and 61.3% UGs; p = 0.72), and 41.4% considered it to be a time-consuming process (39.7% PGs and 48.4% UGs; p = 0.38). 99.3% like to follow up a patient with familial breast cancer by themselves, and 0.7% like to refer them to specialist. 51.9% gynaecologists were convinced of breast conservation surgery (BCS) as a surgical option, however 51.3% feared leaving diseased breast behind.
Despite the knowledge regarding risk factors, clinical signs and treatment of breast cancer and benign breast diseases was found adequate amongst the gynaecologists, this did not apply to their clinical practice. Structured and continuous training of gynaecologists is needed to improve the outcome of patients with breast diseases in terms of better management and reference.
We thank Dr. Uma Singh (MD), Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KGMU for her contribution towards the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interests.
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