Screening for ovarian cancer is not recommended, but what can we do?

According to the New York Times on Monday, tests that are commonly used to screen average-risk women who have no symptoms for ovarian cancer do more harm than good and should not be performed. This recommendation comes from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and reaffirms their original recommendations in 2004, but this time adds that screening can potentially cause harm, leading to unnecessary false positives and surgery.

“We agree with the USPSTF recommendations regarding screening for ovarian cancer,” says SCCA’s Dr. Barbara Goff, medical oncologist and expert in gynecologic cancer treatment.  “Unfortunately, there is no screening test and in the Prostate Lung Colorectal Ovarian Cancer Trial, women with false positive tests who underwent surgery, 15 percent had significant complications.  That is why identification of symptoms is currently our best method for early detection.”

Dr. Goff says that it’s important for women (and their physicians) to understand that women who experience new onset bloating; abdominal or pelvic pain; have difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; or have urinary symptoms that persist for more than several weeks and occur frequently (at least 12 times per month) may be at increased risk of having ovarian cancer and should be evaluated with pelvic exam and possible ultrasound and CA125.

Find more information about the symptoms of ovarian cancer on our website.

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    2 Comments

    1. Posted September 12, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      My mother in law just received 6it chemo treatments for hers.
      it is in remission for now. Stage 3
      we are hoping for the best. Great article
      if you would like to add my story of ceevical cancer, that
      would be great. I’m trying to help women understand the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer is well. I follow all your post and I also have a link to yours on my site.
      You always have interesting and well written stories

      • Amy Poffenbarger
        Posted September 12, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Hi Lisa,

        Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I’m glad she’s doing better though. Take care!

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