Draft of New Guidelines Recommends No Ovarian Cancer Screening for Many Women Without Symptoms

Draft of New Guidelines Recommends No Ovarian Cancer Screening for Many Women Without Symptoms
Ovarian cancer screening in women of average age who have no symptoms offers no benefits and can cause harm, according to a draft of new screening guidelines. This means screening is not recommended for them, according to the draft from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. The task force is an independent group of experts who make recommendations about healthcare preventive services, including screenings, preventive medications, and counseling services. The draft recommendations, available here, are open for public comment until Aug. 14. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in women. Most occur in women over the age of 45. The draft recommendations are only for women with no symptoms. They also do not apply to women with gene mutations that increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer: BRCA1 and BRCA2. Doctors screen for ovarian cancer in two ways. One is with transvaginal ultrasound. The other is testing blood for the CA-125 cancer antigen. Both tools are poor predictors of the cancer, however. In addition, many women who test positive do not go on to develop ovarian cancer. The preventive services task force based its screening recommendations on a review of ovarian cancer research. Many of the studies covered clinical trials that evaluated screening approaches. Some focused on women of average age with no symptoms. Screening did not significantly reduce ovarian cancer deaths in any of the studies. The largest and most recent trial, UKCTOCS (NCT00058032), cove
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