Primary care docs shouldn't screen all patients for oral cancer: experts

April 11, 2013
Primary care docs shouldn't screen all patients for oral cancer: experts
Too little evidence that it helps adults without symptoms, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says.

(HealthDay)—Not enough evidence exists to recommend that primary care physicians perform oral cancer screenings on adult patients who have no signs or symptoms of the condition, an expert panel says.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent medical panel with federal support, said Tuesday that the draft recommendation applies to primary care practitioners but not to dentists or oral health professionals.

The recommendation is not intended to promote or discourage screening, according to a USPSTF news release. Rather, it means the panel concluded that there is insufficient evidence to determine if the benefits of screening outweigh the harm.

"The evidence shows that it is difficult to detect oral cancer and that the evidence is not clear whether oral improves long-term health outcomes among the general or among high-risk groups," task force member Dr. Jessica Herzstein said in the news release. "We need more high-quality research on whether screening tests can accurately detect oral cancer and if screening adults for oral cancer in primary care settings improves health outcomes."

The task force advised to consider their patients' preferences and and the opinions of other experts in addition to their own professional training and experience.

The draft recommendation statement appears on the USPSTF website. Public comments can be made until May 6. The task force will consider these comments while developing its final recommendation.

Although it is not common, oral cancer is a serious disease. Tobacco and alcohol use are major risk factors. Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) also is a growing risk factor for a type of oral cancer known as oropharyngeal cancer, which appears in the upper part of the throat.

Explore further: Experts question use of ankle blood pressure to gauge heart risks

More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on oral cancer.

Related Stories

Experts question use of ankle blood pressure to gauge heart risks

March 18, 2013
(HealthDay)—Does a common test of blood pressure in the ankle help gauge heart disease risk for adults without any symptoms? A new government-appointed panel says there's just not enough evidence to say yes or no on the ...

USPSTF: BRCA testing for women with family history

April 2, 2013
(HealthDay)—The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing be limited to women whose family histories are associated with an increased likelihood of having BRCA mutations.

Final word: Task force recommends against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer

May 21, 2012
Following a period for public comment, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its final recommendation for prostate cancer screening. The Task Force now recommends against PSA-based screening for ...

Dentists play key role in detecting oral cancer

April 7, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Not only do regular dental exams help keep your teeth and gums healthy, they can help detect oral cancer, the Academy of General Dentistry says.

Oral HPV infection, HPV-related cancers more common in men

January 26, 2012
Oral HPV infection is more common among men than women, explaining why men are more prone than women to develop an HPV related head and neck cancer, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer ...

Recommended for you

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.