Survey of primary physicians' knowledge of colorectal cancer screening

Shlomo Birkenfeld, Yaron Niv*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common of the gastrointestinal cancers in Israel. The low rate of patient compliance to a recent CRC screening program of Clalit Health Services, a major health management organization in Israel, prompted the present survey of primary care physicians' knowledge and practices regarding CRC screening. METHODS: A 23-item questionnaire, formulated according to the policy of the Israel Ministry of Health and the recommendations of the American Gastroenterological Association, was distributed to 150 primary physicians of Clalit Health Services. The relative ratio of correct to incorrect answers was calculated for every question and by professional group. RESULTS: The response rate was 89%. Total score (out of a maximum 23) was 20.68 for family physicians (experts in family medicine), 17.79 for experts in other fields, and 17.82 for general practitioners (average, 0.90, 0.77, and 0.77, respectively). The score for the family physicians was significantly higher than for the other two groups (P = 0.0070). Clustering items by specific issues yielded significantly better scores for the family physicians in four areas: screening (P = 0.0164), appropriate test for high-risk population in Israel (P = 0.0012), definition of average-risk population (P = 0.0012), and CRC symptoms (P = 0.0108). A low level of knowledge on the definition of the high-risk population was noted in all three groups. CONCLUSIONS: Experts in family medicine in Israel have significantly greater knowledge of most issues of CRC than primary care experts in other fields and general practitioners, although all three groups lack knowledge on the definition of the high-risk population. Continuing physician education should focus on these areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-67
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Knowledge
  • Neoplasm
  • Screening


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