(HealthDay News) — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has found that there is currently insufficient evidence to weigh the benefits and harms of primary care provider screening of asymptomatic adults for oral cancer, according to a final recommendation statement published online Nov. 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Virginia A. Moyer, M.D., M.P.H., on behalf of the USPSTF, and colleagues updated the 2004 recommendation on screening for oral cancer. To examine whether screening for oral cancer reduced morbidity or mortality, the researchers conducted a comprehensive evidence review. In addition, the accuracy of the oral screening examination for identifying oral cancer or potentially malignant disorders with high likelihood of progression to oral cancer was assessed.
Based on the evidence, the USPSTF cannot recommend for or against oral screening in asymptomatic adults seen by primary care providers. The recommendation relates to oral cavity screening performed by primary care providers, not otolaryngologists or dental providers.
“We need more research on the effectiveness of oral cancer screening in primary care offices and also on the relationship between oropharyngeal cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), ways of preventing HPV infection, and new screening techniques for HPV-related head and neck cancer,” Task Force co-vice chair Albert Siu, M.D., M.S.P.H., said in a statement.