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U.S. Panel Rejects Ovarian Cancer Screens for Low-Risk Women
Date:9/10/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A leading U.S. government panel has recommended against ovarian cancer screening for women who are not at high risk for the disease.

The blood test and transvaginal ultrasound that are currently used to spot ovarian cancer may cause more harm than benefit for those patients, according to final guidelines issued Monday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Women who have the genetic mutations (BRCA1/BRCA2) or family histories that raise their chances of developing ovarian cancer should be referred for genetic testing and counseling, the recommendations add.

These latest guidelines, which were also published Sept. 11 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, mirror those set by the task force back in 2004.

"There is no existing method of screening for ovarian cancer that is effective in reducing deaths," Dr. Virginia Moyer, chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, said in a USPSTF statement issued Monday. "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," she said.

"In light of this, there is a critical need to develop better screening tests for ovarian cancer," Moyer added.

Experts agreed that effective tests to screen for ovarian cancer are desperately needed.

"It is very important that the population at large understands that screening with [ultrasound] and CA 125 is not beneficial at this time," said Dr. Diana Contreras, director of gynecologic oncology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. "It is clear new avenues need to be pursued, and women need to insist that more research is performed attempting to find an adequate screening mechanism so that ovarian cancer can be detected at a curable stage."

In addition, Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, a gynecolo
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