How Is a Cancer-Screening Guideline Developed, Anyway?


December 15, 2011

Wall Street Journal

The American Cancer Society is changing how it develops its screening guidelines.

This might sound like a fairly obscure topic. But debates over screening for diseases such as breast and prostate cancer often include dueling guidelines, including those from the ACS and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The ACS  says it has revised its methods β€œto create a more transparent, consistent and rigorous process for developing and communicating guidelines.” (And they will align with principles laid out in two reports β€” see here and here β€” from the Institute of Medicine, the ACS says.)

One of the big changes is a switch in who will write the guidelines. Historically, the group has relied on ad hoc cancer screening guidelines groups that vary in size and composition but typically include specialists as well as experts in treatment, epidemiology and primary care, the ACS writes in the Journal of the American Medical Association... Read More