Health promotion of bowel cancer and breast cancer screening in community pharmacies: Pharmacists’ perceptions of their role, knowledge and confidence
Objectives: To identify community pharmacists’ perceptions of their role, knowledge and confidence in relation to bowel cancer and breast cancer screening health promotion.
Methods: This was a mixed-methods study with community pharmacists and key informants in the Metro South Health (MSH) region of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In Part 1, quantitative data was collected from community pharmacists via an electronic survey. In Part 2, qualitative data was collected from community pharmacists and key informants via in-depth interviews. This paper reports the findings of community pharmacists’ perceptions of their role, knowledge and confidence to promote bowel cancer and breast cancer screening in community pharmacies.
Results: A total of 27 community pharmacists (13 males, 14 females) completed the survey. Most (71%) either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ discussing health advice, such as cancer screening, with their consumers was valuable and integral to their broader role. An average of 60% described their confidence as ‘average’ or ‘good’ when discussing bowel and breast cancer screening and prevention with consumers. In eight knowledge questions about bowel and breast cancer and cancer screening, an average of 82% of community pharmacists responded with correct answers (range 52% to 100%). Community pharmacists were consistently more confident and knowledgeable about bowel cancer services than breast cancer services. Five (5) community pharmacists participated in in-depth interviews. The interview findings supported the quantitative findings. Most community pharmacists described their confidence to promote bowel cancer and breast cancer screening as moderate, and consistently reflected they felt more knowledgeable and confident about bowel cancer topics than breast cancer topics.
Conclusions: Overall, this research supports the feasibility of promoting bowel cancer screening in community pharmacies. It suggests further training is warranted for community pharmacists to increase their knowledge of breast cancer and their confidence in promoting breast cancer referral and screening services. It highlights the important role community pharmacists have in increasing engagement in the national bowel cancer and breast cancer screening programs, and in potentially decreasing the mortality rates of these cancers.
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