Ovarian Cancer Screening Not Recommended by USPSTF

    September 11, 2012
    Sean Patterson
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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) today issued its final recommendation for women considering being screened for ovarian cancer. The task force does not recommend that women undergo ovarian cancer screening as a prevantive measure. The recommendation applies to women of average risk who show no symptoms of ovarian cancer and do not have genetic mutations that increase their risk of getting the disease.

“There is no existing method of screening for ovarian cancer that is effective in reducing deaths,” said Dr. Virginia Moyer, task force chair. “In fact, a high percentage of women who undergo screening experience false-positive test results and consequently may be subjected to unnecessary harms, such as major surgery.”

The USPSTF pointed out that today’s recommendation is in-line with recommendations by the American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, neither of which recommend screening for ovarian cancer. The task force’s full recommendation is available on its website or in the online version of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Currently, routine screening for ovarian cancer has no proven benefit and may actually lead to important harms,” said Moyer. “In light of this, there is a critical need to develop better screening tests for ovarian cancer.”

The USPSTF is an independent panel of physicians and experts in preventive medecine that uses evidence-based medicine to recommend preventive care and procedures to primary care physicians. It’s recommendations are highly regarded by the medical community. The task force last month recommended that HIV tests become more routine for preventive care.

  • Kim Todd

    I believe the headline of this article does a slight disservice to all women. It suggests that women shouldn’t be screened at all for ovarian cancer. In reality, the current tests avaialable aren’t reliable and therefore are not considered a viable screening method. The headline should have stressed the incredible and dire need to find an early diagnostic screening test for women. There is a 90% survival rate for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the early stages of the disease. Unfortunately, since there is no reliable early screening test, the survival rate of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer is less than 20%. That is because the disease is not found until the later stages.

    Thank you for listening and for getting ovarian cancer into the news, at least. :)

  • Chuck.

    Just lost my wife to ovarian cancer in July. If there had been a test to detect it she may have been alive now. She battled it for 4 yrs. and 3 months.