Increasing awareness of gynaecological cancer symptoms: a GP perspective

Evans, RE; Morris, M; Sekhon, M; Buszewicz, M; Walter, FM; Waller, J; Simon, AE; (2014) Increasing awareness of gynaecological cancer symptoms: a GP perspective. The British journal of general practice, 64 (623). e372-e380. ISSN 0960-1643 DOI:

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Background In the UK there has been an effort, through the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), to increase early stage diagnoses and ultimately cancer survival. Encouraging early symptom presentation through awareness-raising activities in primary care is one method to achieve this goal. Understanding GPs’ views about this type of activity, however, is crucial prior to implementation.Aim To describe GPs’ attitudes to raising public awareness of gynaecological cancers, and their views about the potential impact on primary care services.Design and setting An online survey with a convenience sample recruited from 1860 UK general practices.Method An invitation was emailed to GPs via practice managers and included a weblink to a draft education leaflet and an online survey about the impact of sending a leaflet giving information about symptoms associated with gynaecological cancers to all women on GPs’ lists. Participants could offer additional free text comments which were coded using content analysis.Results A total of 621 GPs participated. Most (77%, 477) felt that raising awareness of cancers was important. Only half (50%, 308), however, indicated that they would distribute such a leaflet from their practice. Barriers to implementation included concerns about financial costs; emotional impact on patients; increased demand for appointments and diagnostic services, such as ultrasound.Conclusions GPs were generally positive about an intervention to improve patients’ awareness of gynaecological cancers, but had concerns about increasing rates of presentation. There is a need for research quantifying the benefits of earlier diagnosis against resource costs such as increased consultations, investigations, and referrals.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Medical Statistics
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Cancer Survival Group
PubMed ID: 24868075
Web of Science ID: 337104000008


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