"Primary care physicians have to know about so many different areas," Klabunde acknowledged. "And there are a lot of guidelines for preventive services. So it's a lot to keep in his or her head."
"But one thing that I think will help going forward are electronic medical records systems," she said. "Many of which, although not all, have decision-support features. And this can provide physicians who are considering ordering a screening with electronic links to practice guidelines."
Dr. Otis Webb Brawley, chief medical officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, said that it's important to understand that screening can be a "double-edged sword."
"I am constantly concerned when we promote the benefit of screenings, and don't worry about the fact there might be associated harm," he said.
"I would say, however, that most of the doctors in this survey have been practicing for 25 or 30 years," Brawley noted. "And because we are starting to teach about screening in school now I am somewhat hopeful that the word will get out among younger physicians. But I would also say that the only way we're really going to get doctors better on this question is actually by encouraging patients to turn to the large major established organizations like us and the NCI - and get more educated about the facts."
For more on lung cancer, gop to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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