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 pinpoint causes for spike in breast cancer genetic testing

October 20, 2017
A sharp rise in the number of women seeking BRCA genetic testing to evaluate their risk of developing breast cancer was driven by multiple factors, including celebrity endorsement, according to researchers at the University ...

Study shows how nerves drive prostate cancer

October 19, 2017
In a study in today's issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore Medicine, report that certain nerves sustain prostate cancer growth by triggering a switch that causes tumor vessels ...

Gene circuit switches on inside cancer cells, triggers immune attack

October 19, 2017
Researchers at MIT have developed a synthetic gene circuit that triggers the body's immune system to attack cancers when it detects signs of the disease.

One to 10 mutations are needed to drive cancer, scientists find

October 19, 2017
For the first time, scientists have provided unbiased estimates of the number of mutations needed for cancers to develop, in a study of more than 7,500 tumours across 29 cancer types. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger ...

Researchers target undruggable cancers

October 19, 2017
A new approach to targeting key cancer-linked proteins, thought to be 'undruggable," has been discovered through an alliance between industry and academia.

Suicide molecules kill any cancer cell

October 19, 2017
Small RNA molecules originally developed as a tool to study gene function trigger a mechanism hidden in every cell that forces the cell to commit suicide, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study, the first to identify molecules ...

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.