Background: The goal of this study was to determine the self-reported breast cancer screening practices of American plastic surgeons and the degree to which those practices adhere to the American Cancer Society guidelines. An independent analysis of subgroups divided by gender, years in practice, and practice setting was performed and the implications of the results are discussed.
Methods: The authors conducted an online survey of the members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Questions assessed practice composition, American Cancer Society guideline familiarity, and preoperative breast cancer screening in patients seeking aesthetic breast surgery. Responses were summarized, subgroup comparisons were made, and logistic regression was used to determine predictors of physician practices.
Results: The 1066 respondents were predominantly male (82 percent) and consisted largely of private practitioners (73 percent). In total, 47 percent appeared to follow the American Cancer Society guidelines, while 64 percent claimed familiarity. Being male predicted more accurate guideline knowledge, but being female resulted in more aggressive screening and possibly more diagnoses. Number of years in practice and familiarity with the American Cancer Society guidelines also resulted in more perioperative diagnoses.
Conclusions: Knowledge of the American Cancer Society guidelines is an essential component of effective cancer screening, but only two-thirds of plastic surgeons claim familiarity with them, and fewer than half report concordant practices. As plastic surgeons who often perform surgical procedures on the breast in women with no history of breast disease, we have an obligation to understand and apply consistent, reliable breast cancer screening practices to ensure the well-being of our patients.