Ovarian cancer screening popular despite guidelines

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According to a new survey published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a third of US primary care physicians believe ovarian cancer screening is effective and many would offer it to patients despite expert guidelines and scientific evidence to the contrary. “Currently the evidence suggests that the harms of ovarian cancer screening exceed the benefits,” said Dr. Laura-Mae Baldwin of the University of Washington in Seattle. “That’s why it is not being recommended.” Baldwin and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,000 doctors across the country, asking them questions about a hypothetical case of a woman presenting for her annual exam. Sixty-five percent of doctors said they “sometimes” or “almost always” offered or ordered ovarian cancer screening for women at medium risk and this number dropped to 29% for women at low risk. Screening is done either as an ultrasound scan or a CA-125 blood test.

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