Entries in Tests (3)


Ovarian Cancer Tests for Healthy Women Unnecessary, Panel Says

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A panel of medical experts warned Monday that tests for ovarian cancer should not be given to women who are healthy with only an average risk of the disease because the screenings are largely ineffective.

Dr. Virginia Moyer, chairwoman of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which issued the report, said, "In fact, a high percentage of women who undergo screening experience false-positive test results and consequently may be subjected to unnecessary harms, such as major surgery."

According to the panel, screenings that involve blood tests and ultrasound scans often result in surgeries with high complication rates.

The same panel has come under some fire for warning against mammograms for women and PSA screening for prostate cancer for men when patients are under the age of 50.

However, this latest recommendation against ovarian cancer screenings also has the support of  the American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Health experts are not denying the seriousness of ovarian cancer, which affects 22,280 annually, killing 15,500.

Generally, by the time the cancer is detected, it is already in advanced stages. Warning signs include persistent bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, feeling full early while eating and needing to urinate frequently.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests Not Likely to Be Accurate

Photodisc/Thinkstock(ROTTERDAM, Netherlands) -- By simulating the genetic information for 100,000 individuals, investigators in one study from Erasmus University Medical Centre compared the virtual individuals’ risks of eight common diseases to predicted risk data provided by two separate direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies -- one from the U.S., the other from Iceland.  

They found that both companies assumed much higher disease risks than they’re actually known to be, indicating that whether these companies can predict disease risks predominantly depends on the method used for their calculation.  

In a separate study at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, researchers surveyed European geneticists about their opinions on direct-to-consumer tests. Not surprisingly, and like their U.S. counterparts, the European physicians largely distrusted the validity of such tests and many believed that they should be banned.  

The main concern is that the uninformed consumer may not obtain useful results, on one hand, because the tests are not necessarily accurate, and on the other hand, because of the lack of genetic counseling that can explain to them how genetic factors actually influence disease risk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Organ Transplant Recipient Contracts HIV After Donor's Unsafe Sex

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Organ donors should be screened for HIV within a week of the operation, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Thursday.  The call came after the first documented U.S. case of HIV spread by a living donor -- a man who tested negative 10 weeks before a sick patient got his kidney.

The recipient, a kidney failure patient on hemodialysis, contracted HIV months after receiving a kidney from a man who tested negative at his initial screening, but subsequently engaged in unprotected sex, said Claudia Hutton, director of public affairs for the New York State Department of Health in Albany.  Her department, along with New York City's Department of Health, conducted a public health investigation because the 2009 transplant took place at a New York City hospital, which she declined to identify.  However, she said the hospital had followed the necessary protocols.

All agencies involved in the investigation have declined to provide the recipient's gender because of privacy concerns.

On Monday, New York health officials issued interim recommendations calling for hospital administrators, organ transplant directors, and transplant coordinators to follow up initial blood tests for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C with repeat testing.  They recommended using more sensitive testing, called nucleic acid testing, which can detect these viruses within eight to 10 days.  That is well before the immune system responds to the virus by developing antibodies, typically three weeks to eight weeks after exposure.

The state health agency said the additional tests should be performed "no longer than 14 days preceding organ donation" and recommended that potential living donors receive counseling to avoid unprotected sex and injection drug use, which could place them -- and the recipient -- at risk for HIV and hepatitis between the initial screening and the time the organs are transplanted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio