The trusted source for
healthcare information and
PHILADELPHIA – To screen or not to screen. That is the question for average-risk adults without symptoms for five common cancers: breast, colorectal, ovarian, prostate, and cervical.
To answer that question and recommend the best screening for patients at different stages of life, the American College of Physicians (ACP) reviewed its own clinical guidelines and evidence synthesis as well as those issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Cancer Society, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the American Urological Association. The results were published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
"We found much common agreement on high value care screening among different organizations," said Tanveer Mir, MD, chair of ACP's Board of Regents and a member of ACP's High Value Care Task Force, which developed the review. "Our advice puts that agreement together in one convenient place for physicians and patients. Many major physician organizations are seeking to implement strategies that best optimize the known benefits and harms of cancer screenings."
"The largest harm that can result from overly intense screening is over-diagnosis and overtreatment," explained Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, president of the ACP.
In general, screening for the five cancers is not recommended in patients with a life expectancy under 10 years. Here is a summary of the other high-value recommendations: