• Women's Cancer Research Foundation

No Survival Benefit from Annual Ovarian Cancer Screening in Low-Risk Women




In a 2021 study from Lancet, the authors reported no ovarian cancer survival benefit from annual transvaginal ultrasound or multimodal screenings in women who are at low risk for the disease. Since most women are diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer and tend to have a poor prognosis, the study authors were interested to ascertain if yearly evaluations would reduce disease-related deaths.


No ovarian cancer survival benefit from annual transvaginal ultrasound or multimodal screenings in women who are at low risk for the disease.

More than 200,000 postmenopausal women, aged 50 years to 74 years, were recruited into the trial. The women were then randomized to receive annual multimodal screening (50,625 individuals), annual transvaginal ultrasound screening (60,623 individuals) or no screening (101,314 individuals). After a median follow-up of 16.3 years, 2,055 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. There were 522 women in the annual multimodal screening and 517 women in the annual transvaginal ultrasound screening who were ultimately diagnosed with the disease.


The lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer in women who are not genetically susceptible to the disease is approximately 2%.

Moreover, the incidence of stage 1 or 2 disease was 39.2% higher in the multimodal group compared to the no screening group. The lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer in women who are not genetically susceptible to the disease is approximately 2%. Therefore, the risk is low and in accordance with the current study findings, the data do not support a clear survival benefit from annual screening.


About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.


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