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Task force says routine ovarian cancer screens unnecessary, may cause harm

ovary Task force says routine ovarian cancer screens unnecessary, may cause harmWomen should not be routinely screened for ovarian cancer because doing so can put them at risk for unnecessary harm, a government task force recommends.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an independent group of national experts, first made the recommendation in 2004, but restated its concerns based on recently published data from a large clinical trial.

The trial involved 78,216 women, half of whom were screened with transvaginal ultrasounds and a blood test called CA-125. The other half of women were not screened at all. At the end of the study, whether women were screened had no bearing on the outcome. However, a high percentage of the women who were screened did experience a false-positive reading that required invasive testing, such as major surgery to cut into the body and remove an ovary.

The task force’s recommendation falls in line with guidelines established by other medical and public health organizations, such as the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, which does not recommend screening for ovarian cancer in women who are asymptomatic. The American Cancer Society says no screening tests have proven to be effective and sufficiently accurate in the early detection of ovarian cancer.

Experts say the most important thing for women to keep in mind is if they have a family history of ovarian cancer or are showing symptoms of the disease, they should see a doctor.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women, and is the deadliest among all gynecological cancers.

Source: The Washington Post