archived

Final Recommendation Statement

Bladder Cancer in Adults: Screening, 2004

June 07, 2004

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This Recommendation is out of date

It has been replaced by the following: Bladder Cancer in Adults: Screening (2011)

Recommendation Summary

Population Recommendation Grade
Adults The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine screening for bladder cancer in adults. D

Additional Information

Recommendation Information

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Full Recommendation:

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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The USPSTF found fair evidence that screening with available tests can detect bladder cancer in asymptomatic individuals. The potential benefit of screening would be small, at best, for the following reasons: there is fair evidence that many of the cancers detected by screening have a low tendency to progress to invasive disease; there is a relatively low overall prevalence of asymptomatic bladder cancer that would eventually lead to important clinical consequences; and there is limited evidence that early treatment of bladder cancer detected through screening improves long-term health outcomes. The potential harms of screening are at least small: screening tests have a low positive predictive value and yield many false positive results, leading to unnecessary invasive procedures. As a result, the USPSTF concluded that the potential harms of screening for bladder cancer outweigh any potential benefits.

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In 1996, the Task Force recommended against screening for bladder cancer with microscopic urinalysis, urine dipstick, or urine cytology in asymptomatic persons (a D Recommendation).1 Since then, the Task Force criteria to rate the strength of the evidence have changed.[[2]] Therefore, this recommendation statement has been updated and revised based on the current USPSTF methodology and rating of the strength of the evidence.

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  • Bladder cancer is 2 to 3 times more common in men than in women and is unusual before age 50. Bladder cancer is heterogeneous; it is a spectrum of conditions, most of which are not life-threatening.
  • Screening tests—such as microscopic urinalysis, urine dipstick, urine cytology, or such new tests as bladder tumor antigen (BTA) or nuclear matrix protein (NMP22) immunoassay—can detect bladder cancers that are clinically unapparent. However, because of the low prevalence of bladder cancer, the positive predictive value of these tests is low.
  • Smoking increases the risk for bladder cancer; about 50% of all cases of bladder cancer occur in current or former smokers. Smokers should be counseled on quitting smoking.
  • People in occupations that involve exposure to chemicals used in the dye or rubber industries may also have increased risk for bladder cancer. The USPSTF did not review the evidence for targeted screening for those with occupational exposure.
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Members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force* are Alfred O. Berg, M.D., M.P.H., Chair (Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA); Janet D. Allan, Ph.D., R.N., C.S., Vice-chair (Dean, School of Nursing, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD); Ned Calonge, M.D., M.P.H. (Acting Chief Medical Officer, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO); Paul Frame, M.D. (Tri-County Family Medicine, Cohocton, NY, and Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY); Joxel Garcia, M.D., M.B.A. (Deputy Director, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC); Russell Harris, M.D., M.P.H. (Associate Professor of Medicine, Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC); Mark S. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H. (Professor of Family Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ); Jonathan D. Klein, M.D., M.P.H. (Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY); Carol Loveland-Cherry, Ph.D., R.N. (Executive Associate Dean, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI); Virginia A. Moyer, M.D., M.P.H. (Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas at Houston, Houston, TX); C. Tracy Orleans, Ph.D. (Senior Scientist, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ); Albert L. Siu, M.D., M.S.P.H. (Professor and Chairman, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY); Steven M. Teutsch, M.D., M.P.H. (Executive Director, Outcomes Research and Management, Merck & Company, Inc., West Point, PA); Carolyn Westhoff, M.D., M.Sc. (Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY); and Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H. (Professor, Department of Family Practice and Department of Preventive and Community Medicine and Director of Research, Department of Family Practice, Virginia Commonwealth University, Fairfax, VA).

* Member of the USPSTF at the time this recommendation was finalized. For a list of current Task Force members, go to https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/about-uspstf/current-members.

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  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; 1996.
  2. Harris RP, Helfand M, Woolf SH, Lohr KN, Mulrow CD, Teutsch SM, Atkins D, for the Methods Work Group, Third U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Current methods of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: a review of the process. Am J Prev Med 2001;20(3S):21-35.
  3. Screening for bladder cancer: update of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2004. Available at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.
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