Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Doctors Don't Follow OC Guidelines
The has been a buzz on the internet about a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled " Vignette-Based Study of Ovarian Cancer Screening: Do U.S. Physicians Report Adhering to Evidence-Based Recommendations?". In the study , 1800 family physicians,internists and gynecologists answered a 12 page survey regarding women's annual exams and their offers or orders for a transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) or CA-125 blood test .
The conclusion of the study was
"One in 3 physicians believed that ovarian cancer screening was effective, despite evidence to the contrary. Substantial proportions of physicians reported routinely offering or ordering ovarian cancer screening, thereby exposing women to the documented risks of these tests"
The report also stated that 33% of the doctors offered TVU and the CA-125 to low risk women. Everyone should know that physicians answered questions based on patient scenarios. The doctors were not answering questions about their actual patients.
Although I am happy that physicians are aware of ovarian cancer there appears to be a need to better educate physicians that screening of asymptomatic women is not recommended by any professional medical organization or government agency . Maybe one of the ovarian cancer organizations ( OCNA or NOCC or even FORCE) might develop some continuing education training for physicians regarding ovarian cancer symptoms, risk factors, the CA-125 test, a review of the studies regarding screening and the different way they should interact with both low risk and high risk women.
(Source: Baldwin LM, et al "Vignette-based study of ovarian cancer screening: Do US physicians report adhering to evidence-based recommendations?" Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:182-194.)
If you would like to read further commentary on this study please see:
Wall Street Journal
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