Attitudes towards the use of Pap smear among family medicine specialists and residents in Turkey
Objective: To evaluate and residents the use of Pap smears by family medicine specialists in Turkey.
Methods: A total of 200 survey forms were either emailed or posted to the physicians who were either family medicine specialists or residents during the period of February-August 2007. Out of those 101 replied. The survey contained either multiple choice or open ended questions about personal information of the physicians and the level of knowledge and application frequency regarding Pap smear. Data were analyzed using SPSS 10.0 program. The results were displayed as percentage in tables.
Results: A number of 101 physicians who replied were enrolled in the study, of which 18 were specialists (17.8%) and 83 were residents (82.2%). Of the physicians, 57.4% indicated taking Pap smears routinely and 91.1% used it for cancer screening. 79.2% suggested that it should begin with the beginning of sexual activity, 68.3% said that it should last for life time, and 57.4% indicated that it should be performed on low risk groups once a year. For the most suitable smear timing, 57.4% quoted as the 10th-20th days of the menstrual cycle, while 42.6% quoted as any day during the medical examination. Most of the physicians reported using special plastic brushes, preferred the conventional method using double lams and alcohol for fixation. Most of the physicians (80-90%) indicated that information including the age, clinical characteristics, and pre-diagnosis of the patient should be written in the form to be sent to the laboratory. Nearly half of the physicians indicated dependability rate of the Pap smear to be 71-90%. Insufficient material and inappropriate technique were said to be the most affecting factors to this rate.
Conclusions: Family medicine specialists are among the most essential elements of the preventive medicine. It will be very helpful for them to update their knowledge and practice on Pap smear techniques.