Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers among men and women worldwide. Patients who are diagnosed at the early stages of the disease have a significantly better prognosis, lower mortality, and lower burden of the disease. Thus, screening methods, namely colonoscopy, and fecal occult blood test are effective means of a timely diagnosis. However, there are pearls and pitfalls among doctors in the decision to participate and implement these methods. This article aims to evaluate and discuss the attitude and behavior of physicians toward colonoscopy screening.
This cross-sectional study was performed on 81 physicians working in academic hospitals of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran, between February and May 2019. Data were gathered using demographic information checklists and a researcher-developed checklist to evaluate the attitude of physicians towards the benefits and necessity of colonoscopy. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 23, and p<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
81 physicians with a mean age of 58.9±6.6 years were studied. Most of the participants were male (n=60, 74.1%), married (n=79, 97.5%), and had fellowships in their specialty (n=44, 54.3%). When asked about barriers against colonoscopy, most physicians mentioned unwillingness (n=24, 29.6%) and lack of time (n=14, 17.3%). There was no significant association between physicians’ sex and their screening colonoscopy history (p=0.98). Moreover, no significant association was detected between the physicians’ level of education and undertaking colonoscopy (p=0.15).
This study revealed that a large number of physicians are not willing to undergo screening colonoscopy despite the fact that they have a positive attitude towards the method. Although physicians are knowledgeable about the benefits of colonoscopy, it is not sufficient, and creating the right cultural context is also needed.