Ovarian Cancer Screening: USPSTF Posts Draft Guidelines for Public Comment

A teal ribbon, which is an awareness ribbon fo...

A teal ribbon, which is an awareness ribbon for Ovarian cancer and Sexual assault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ovarian Cancer Screening: Draft Guidelines Suggest More Harm Than Benefit


The USPSTF released on April 12, 2012, an evidence-based recommendation on ovarian cancer screening that is posted in draft form for public comment. "...This draft Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement is available for comment from April 10 until May 8, 2012, at 5:00 PM ET. You may wish to read the entire Recommendation Statement before you comment. A fact sheet that explains the draft recommendations in plain language is available here. ..."

I previously shared the USPSTF Recommendation Grades here in a mind map format that you may want to review, although the above link to the fact sheet has a description as well.

In brief, the USPSTF recommends AGAINST screening women at low risk for ovarian cancer. This is a Grade D recommendation. The evidence-based review failed to identify any studies (meeting set criteria for inclusion) that demonstrated a benefit to patients, but they did identify studies which demonstrated more harm than benefit. Again, this recommendation does not apply to those women at high risk for ovarian cancer, such as "...[w]omen with known genetic mutations that increase their risk of ovarian cancer (e.g., BRCA mutations)."

There is an outline of the study design, and references reviewed...it is well worth the read, as well as comment. There was a recent blog post comment which mentioned OVA1, and why it wasn't mentioned in the draft recommendations. However, OVA1 is not considered by the FDA as a "screening" test for ovarian cancer, and it has specific defined indications. (For more information regarding OVA1, you can also refer to this May 2011 PRNewsire post).

I would encourage you to take the time to read through the material. I will surely read it again...and hopefully, I haven't misspoken in my initial run-through. Feel free to post your thoughts. It does seem to be the going trend that "less is more" when it comes to cancer screening.

(via Screening for Ovarian Cancer: Evidence Update for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement and Screening for Ovarian Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement DRAFT Summary of Recommendation and Evidence)


About Jana Sullinger

GYN Pathologist and Cytopathologist. Special interest in quality assessment and use of online social media in sharing educational information about cytology and quality.

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