Physician behaviors to promote informed decisions for prostate cancer screening: A national research network study

Suzanne K. Linder*, Michael A. Kallen, Patricia Dolan Mullen, James M. Galliher, Paul R. Swank, Evelyn C Y Chan, Robert J. Volk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Clinical guidelines for prostate cancer screening (PCS) advise physicians to discuss the potential harms and benefits of screening. However, there is a lack of training programs for informed decision-making (IDM), and it is unknown which IDM behaviors physicians have the most difficulty performing. Identifying difficult behaviors can help tailor training programs. In the context of developing a physician-IDM program for PCS, we aimed to describe physicians' use of nine key IDMbehaviors for the PCS discussion and to examine the relation between the behaviors and physician characteristics. A cross-sectional sample of The American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network completed surveys about their behavior regarding PCS (N=246; response rate=58 %). The surveys included nine physician key IDM behaviors for PCS and a single-item question describing their general practice style for PCS. The most common IDM behavior was to invite men to ask questions. The two least common reported behaviors concerned patients uncertain about screening (i.e., arrange follow-up and provide additional information for undecided men). Physicians reported difficulty with these two behaviors regardless whether they reported to discuss or not to discuss PCS with patients. Reported use of key IDM behaviors was associated with a general practice style for PCS and being affiliated with a residency-training program. Physician training programs for IDM should include physician skills to address the needs of patients uncertain about screening. Future research should determine if actual behavior is associated with self-reported behavior for the PCS discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-349
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Decision making
  • Early detection of cancer
  • Physicians
  • Primary care
  • Prostatic neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Oncology


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