General practitioners' (GPs) understanding and views on breast density in Australia: A qualitative interview study

Publication Name

BMJ Open


Objectives To understand general practitioners' (GPs') awareness and knowledge of mammographic breast density (BD) and their perspectives around information and potential notification of BD for women. Design Qualitative study using semistructured telephone interviews. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed and analysed using framework analysis. Setting Australia. Participants Australian GPs (n=30). Results GPs had limited knowledge of BD and little experience discussing BD with women. There were mixed views on notification of BD with some GPs believing this information would help informed decision making about breast health and that women have the right to know any information about their bodies. While others were concerned about causing unnecessary anxiety and were worried about the uncertainty about what to advise women to do with this information, particularly in relation to supplemental breast screening. The need for an equitable system where all women are either notified or not, and also provided with publicly funded supplemental screening was raised by GPs. Overall, there was high interest in education, training and support around the topic of BD. Conclusions Australian GPs require education, support and evidence-based guidelines to have discussions with women with dense breasts and help manage their risk, especially if widespread notification is to be introduced in population-based screening programmes.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Government



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