Task force softens stance on bladder cancer screening

September 1, 2011

In an update to its 2004 recommendation, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for bladder cancer in asymptomatic adults.

In an update to its 2004 recommendation, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for bladder cancer in asymptomatic adults.

Previously, the USPSTF concluded that the harms outweighed the benefits of screening for bladder cancer. The update focused on the benefits and harms of screening among people without symptoms, the accuracy of screening tests done in primary care settings, and the benefits and harms of treatment.

"The updated evidence review did not find any new high-quality evidence to adequately determine the balance of benefits and harms of screening for bladder cancer," the USPSTF said in a statement. "However, bladder cancer is a common cancer and can cause considerable health problems including death. Therefore, the Task Force determined that the evidence was insufficient to provide a recommendation for or against bladder cancer screening."

The USPSTF emphasized the need for additional research in this area.

The updated recommendation was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2011; 155:246-51).