USPSTF Does Not Recommend Ovarian Cancer Screening

Laurie Toich, Associate Editor
Published Online: Friday, March 2nd, 2018
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a final recommendation that addresses screening for ovarian cancer. 

Due to the available evidence, the task force does not recommend screening for ovarian cancer among women without any signs of the condition, according to an agency news bulletin. This is a D recommendation, the task force noted.

Ovarian cancer is troublesome to diagnose and most patients do not exhibit symptoms until the later stages of the disease. Additionally, symptoms are similar to those of other conditions and can be present in healthy women, which further complicates diagnosis, according to the task force.
 
These factors make it more likely that ovarian cancer is diagnosed at a later stage when treatments are less effective. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer death among women, causing more than 14,000 per year.
 
Currently, screening tests are unable to correctly determine whether or not a patient has ovarian cancer. There is also a lack of FDA-approved screening tests for the disease.
 
The task force concluded that screening may result in a patient undergoing unnecessary surgery when she does not have cancer.
 
“The task force recommends against screening for ovarian cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms,” said task force member Michael J. Barry, MD. “Evidence shows that current screening methods do not prevent women from dying of ovarian cancer and that screening can lead to unnecessary surgery in women without cancer.”


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