Knowledge and practice of prostate cancer screening among general practitioners in Malaysia: a cross-sectional study

Screening for prostate cancer remains controversial. General practitioners (GPs) play an important role in assisting men to make an informed decision on prostate cancer screening. The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge and practice of prostate cancer screening among private GPs in Malaysia.

A cross-sectional study.

Private general practices in Selangor, Malaysia.

311 randomly selected full-time private GPs were recruited between September 2013 and January 2014.

Questionnaires were distributed to the GPs via postal mail and clinic visits. The main outcomes were: knowledge of prostate cancer risk factors and screening tests; GPs' prostate cancer screening practices; and factors influencing GPs' decision to screen for prostate cancer. Associations between covariates and propensity to screen for prostate cancer were determined using logistic regression.

The response rate was 65%. The proportion of GPs who overestimated the positive predictive values of prostrate-specific antigen (PSA), digital rectal examination (DRE) and a combination of PSA and DRE was 63%, 57% and 64%, respectively. About 49.5% of the respondents would routinely screen asymptomatic men for prostate cancer; of them, 94.9% would use PSA to screen. Male GPs who would consider having a PSA test performed on themselves were six times more likely to screen asymptomatic men than GPs who would not have the test (OR=6.88, 95% CI 1.40 to 33.73), after adjusting for age and duration of practice.

GPs overestimated the accuracy of PSA in prostate cancer screening. Their intention to screen for prostate cancer themselves predicted their propensity to screen their patients for prostate cancer. This finding highlights the potential of using a new approach to change GPs' screening practices via addressing GPs' own screening behaviour.

BMJ open. 2016 Sep 29*** epublish ***

Abdul Malik Tun Firzara, Chirk Jenn Ng

Faculty of Medicine, Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.