Australian general practitioners’ attitudes and knowledge of sentinel lymph node biopsy in melanoma management

Caroline G. Watts*, Andrea L. Smith, Sam Robinson, Chiao Han Chang, Chris Goumas, Helen Schmid, John W. Kelly, Angela M. Hong, Richard A. Scolyer, Georgina V. Long, Andrew J. Spillane, Michael Henderson, David E. Gyorki, Victoria J. Mar, Rachael L. Morton, Robyn P. M. Saw, Alex H. Varey, Graham J. Mann, John F. Thompson, Anne E. Cust

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objective In Australia, the uptake of the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) appears low despite clinical practice guideline recommendations. The aim of this study was to describe the knowledge and attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) to SLNB. Methods GPs were recruited at an annual conference and a skin cancer skills workshop, and using GP professional communications. A mixed methods approach comprised a cross-sectional questionnaire and, for a subset of participants, semi-structured interviews. Results Overall, 231 GPs completed the questionnaire, of whom 23 were interviewed. One-third (32%) described themselves as quite or very familiar with the guidelines, and two-thirds (68%) thought that SLNB had an important role in the management of patients with melanoma. Of GPs who would discuss SLNB with eligible patients, <40% correctly identified that SLNB is recommended for patients with an invasive melanoma >1 mm thick. Conclusions GPs were generally supportive of SLNB. Familiarity with the guidelines was low, particularly regarding which patients should be considered for SLNB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of General Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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