Intended for healthcare professionals


Routine screening for ovarian cancer harms more than it helps, says US authority

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 13 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6203
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

A US medical advisory body has reaffirmed its opposition to broad population screening for ovarian cancer.1 It said existing screening measures are insensitive, they do not reduce mortality, and do result in unnecessary surgery that puts women at increased risk of injury and death.

The US Preventive Services Task Force acknowledged the high mortality associated with ovarian cancer, as the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the nation.

The age adjusted incidence is just 13 cases per 100 000 women, however, and the positive predictive value of the screening test is low; “most women with a positive screening test will have a false-positive result.”

“Adequate evidence shows that screening for ovarian cancer can …

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