General practitioners' attitudes to randomised clinical trials for women with breast cancer
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OBJECTIVE: To determine general practitioners' attitudes to randomised clinical trials for women with breast cancer. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey with structured face-to-face interviews conducted between December 1997 and May 1998. PARTICIPANTS: A random sample of GPs in central Sydney. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: GPs' attitudes to referring women with breast cancer to specialists who enrol patients in randomised clinical trials, and to randomised clinical trials in general. RESULTS: 85 of 158 GPs (54%) consented to be interviewed. Of these 85 GPs, 47% stated that they would refer a woman with breast cancer to a specialist who was likely to enrol the woman in a clinical trial; 50% believed that clinical trials increase knowledge about treatment options; and 15% thought that randomised trials may make a valuable scientific contribution. However, 43% of GPs expressed concerns that their patients may be disadvantaged, 39% said that they wanted optimum treatment for their patients, 18% that they would want to know what the trial was about, and 12% were worried about ethical considerations. CONCLUSIONS: Many of the GPs in this survey have concerns about randomised clinical trials for women with breast cancer. Improved communication between specialists and GPs about the conduct of and treatments offered in clinical trials for breast cancer may change this attitude.
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