Publication Abstract

Authors: McLeod DK, Pullon SR, Kenealy T, Barker ND

Title: Issues relating to early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer in New Zealand general practice.

Journal: N Z Med J 112(1095):341-4

Date: 1999 Sep 10

Abstract: AIM: This study describes current practice in New Zealand general practice with emphasis on identifying problem areas in the early detection of breast cancer. The study is focused on women outside the age group for the New Zealand breast screening programme (50-64 years). METHOD: Thirty selected general practitioners throughout New Zealand were interviewed in depth to identify the key issues relating to the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer in the primary care setting. Attitudes to key issues were quantified in a later postal survey of 656 general practitioners randomly sampled from the RNZCGP database. RESULTS: The response rate to the quantitative study was 82%. General practitioners were generally well informed about risk factors for breast cancer and the relative sensitivity and specificity of screening and diagnostic tools. Diagnosis and management were influenced by the limitations of screening and diagnostic tools, as well as access to, and confidence in, services. The appropriate level of investigation and follow-up for young women was an area of uncertainty. CONCLUSION: The study provided data to inform guideline development and a baseline measure of current practice against which the impact of the implementation of guidelines could be measured.