Task force updates screening guidelines for ovarian cancer

Each year, 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer; difficult to detect in the early stages, it has a high mortality rate -- 14,000 die each year and there has been no improvement in the rate in 30 years.

On Sept. 10, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its recommendations on ovarian cancer screening. As it has done recently with prostate cancer and breast cancer, it has recommended scaling back on the numbers of screenings for apparently healthy people.

It gives the caveat that if people are experiencing symptoms then they should definitely be screened regardless of risk or family history.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, urges women and health professionals to learn about the symptoms. It submitted comments to the USPSTF regarding screening; it reports that it "will continue to work with the task force and appropriate government agencies to ensure that women at high risk of developing the disease have access to genetic counseling and testing as appropriate."

For info, go to ovariancancer.org or www.cancer-dancer.org to learn about CancerDancer and its efforts to fight ovarian cancer.

(The photo is of N.E.D. - a rock group composed of doctors who treat ovarian cancer, who appeared at a Newport News fundraiser in 2012.)

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