, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 247-251
Date: 12 Nov 2013

Promoting Gynecologic Cancer Awareness at a Critical Juncture—Where Women and Providers Meet

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Abstract

Given the absence of effective population-based screening tests for ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, early detection can depend on women and health care providers recognizing the potential significance of symptoms. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Inside Knowledge campaign began distributing consumer education materials promoting awareness of gynecologic cancer symptoms. We investigated providers’ in-office use of CDC gynecologic cancer materials and their recognition of the symptoms highlighted in the materials. We analyzed data from a national 2012 survey of US primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and gynecologists (N = 1,380). Less than a quarter of providers (19.4 %) reported using CDC gynecologic cancer education materials in their offices. The provider characteristics associated with the use of CDC materials were not consistent across specialties. However, recognition of symptoms associated with gynecologic cancers was consistently higher among providers who reported using CDC materials. The possibility that providers were educated about gynecologic cancer symptoms through the dissemination of materials intended for their patients is intriguing and warrants further investigation. Distributing consumer education materials in health care provider offices remains a priority for the Inside Knowledge campaign, as the setting where women and health care providers interact is one of the most crucial venues to promote awareness of gynecologic cancer symptoms.