Last week the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its fifth report to Congress highlighting women’s health as a high priority gap in clinical preventative services. Recognizing the reproductive and biologic differences in women, as well as such external factors as home and work environments and economic and educational resources, the USPSTF has called for more research in five specific areas relating to women’s health in order to improve healthcare for women in the US.
As it relates to ovarian cancer, the USPSTF found an evidence gap in the “effectiveness of new screening methods and treatment strategies on improving benefits and reducing harms.” According to the report, “screening results in many false-positive test results, and consequently this may result in serious and unnecessary harms, such as major surgery. As a result, research is needed to develop new screening methods and treatment strategies for ovarian cancer that are effective in improving benefits and reducing harmful outcomes.” The report also calls for genetic counseling for women with increased risk of BRCA mutations.
The USPSTF is an independent panel of health care experts who are tasked with making evidence-based recommendations about preventative services with the goal of improving healthcare for Americans. More information on the USPSTF and the fifth annual report can be found here: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/fifth-annual-report-to-congress-on-high-priority-evidence-gaps-for-clinical-preventive-services