Doctors often screen for ovarian cancer more frequently than advised

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 13, 2012

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Many physicians continue to screen routinely for ovarian cancer despite clinical guidelines recommending against it, says a study in the Feb. 7 Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers surveyed 1,088 family physicians, internists and obstetrician-gynecologists 64 and younger on their cancer screening practices for women. They found that 65% of participants reported ovarian cancer screening practices that were not adherent with current recommendations. Twenty-four percent of doctors said they almost always would order or offer routine screening for medium-risk women, and 6% would do so for low-risk women.

Screening excessively for the disease can lead to false positives, unnecessary procedures and patient anxiety, the study says.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against routine screening for ovarian cancer. The American Cancer Society encourages physicians to give a Pap test every two to three years to women 30 and older who have had three consecutive normal Pap test results.

The Annals study is online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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