By Megan Brooks
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) continues to advise against ovarian cancer screening in asymptomatic women at average risk, saying the potential harms of screening outweigh the benefits.
Their updated draft recommendation on ovarian cancer screening was published today.
“The Task Force found that screening women without signs or symptoms for ovarian cancer does not decrease the number of deaths from the disease and may lead to unnecessary surgeries,” Task Force member Dr. Maureen Phipps, said in a news release.
“Therefore, the Task Force recommends against screening for ovarian cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms and who are not at high risk for ovarian cancer,” added Dr. Phipps, of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.
“The Task Force’s new draft recommendation on Screening for Ovarian Cancer is consistent with the 2012 final recommendation. Additionally, it is worth noting that no other major medical organization recommends screening for ovarian cancer in women without signs or symptoms due to the inaccuracy of the available screening procedures,” Dr. Phipps told Reuters Heath by email.
“The current screening tests do not do a good job identifying whether a woman does or does not have ovarian cancer,” Task Force chair Dr. David Grossman, of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and University of Washington, Seattle, said in the release. “The Task Force hopes that in the future, better screening tests for ovarian cancer will be developed.”
Given that most cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed at later stages, new screening strategies that can accurately detect ovarian cancer earlier are needed, the Task Force says.
Also, given the potential for “serious harms” from false-positive tests, new screening strategies should minimize false-positive results and be highly specific. Additionally, studies looking at the benefits and harms of using these screening strategies in asymptomatic women of average risk for ovarian cancer are needed.
This draft recommendation applies only to asymptomatic women at average risk. It does not apply to women with genetic mutations that increase the risk for ovarian cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations or Lynch, Li-Fraumeni, or Peutz-Jeghers syndrome).
The Task Force’s draft recommendation statement and evidence review have been posted for public comment on the Task Force Web site (http://bit.ly/2tbKsg7). Comments can be submitted from July 18 through August 14, 2017.
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