Cancer screening in women: A study of house staff behavior

M. E. Wheat, G. Kunitz, J. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To explore physician, patient, and provider factors associated with house staff performance of cancer screening in women, we reviewed 565 randomly selected charts of 58 medical residents in two San Francisco teaching hospitals, H1 and H2. We assessed performance of Pap smear, breast exam, mammography, rectal exam, and stool occult blood testing, and administered questionnaires to all residents to ascertain screening beliefs and attitudes and individual screening criteria. The main finding was a significant difference in screening between the two hospitals. Four of five tests (Pap smear, breast exam, mammography, rectal exam) were performed more frequently at H2. Neither provider nor patient factors could explain this. Organizational differences between the sites included more frequent flow sheet recommendations for mammography and rectal exams at H2. Increased gynecological referral at H2 was also associated with more frequent Pap smears, breast exams, and rectal exams. White women did receive more frequent rectal exams, and mammography was increased among those who agreed with American Cancer Society screening recommendations, but no other provider or patient characteristics were associated with difference in screening. Results of further study of the effect of the learning environment and referral strategies on cancer screening, including assessment of patient acceptability and cost, can be used to improve cancer screening behaviors of medical house staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-136
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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