Practice Alert

2019 USPSTF update



Those at risk can reduce their chances of skin cancer by using broad-spectrum sunscreens and sun-protective clothing, and by avoiding sun exposure and indoor tanning beds.

Fall prevention

In a reversal of its 2012 recommendation, the Task Force now recommends against the use of vitamin D supplementation to prevent falls in community-dwelling adults 65 years or older.7 In a reanalysis of previous studies on this topic, along with new evidence, the Task Force concluded that vitamin D supplementation offers no benefit for preventing falls in adults who are not vitamin D deficient.

Screening for scoliosis in adolescents

In 2004 the USPSTF recommended against screening for idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents 10 to 18 years of age. In its most recent review, the Task Force continued to find no direct evidence of the benefit of screening and inadequate evidence on the long-term benefits of reduction in spinal curvature through exercise, surgery, and bracing. However, following a reanalysis of the potential harms of these treatments and the use of a new analytic framework, the Task Force concluded it is not possible at this time to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening.8

Prostate cancer screening

In its most controversial action, the Task Force reversed its 2012 recommendation against routine prostate-specific antigen–based screening for prostate cancer in men ages 55 to 69 years and now lists this as a “C” recommendation.9 The potential benefits of screening include preventing 1.3 deaths from prostate cancer per 1000 men screened over 13 years and approximately 3 cases of metastatic prostate cancer. However, no trials have found a reduction in all-cause mortality from screening. Contrast that with the known harms of screening: 15% false positive results over 10 years; 1% hospitalization rate among those undergoing a prostate biopsy; over-diagnosis and resultant treatment of 20% to 50% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer through screening; and incontinence and erectile dysfunction in 20% and 67%, respectively, of men following prostatectomy.9

Evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against the use of electrocardiography in screening for atrial fibrillation.

Based on these outcomes, the Task Force “does not recommend screening for prostate cancer unless men express a preference for screening after being informed of and understanding the benefits and risks.”9 The Task Force continues to recommend against screening men ages 70 years and older.

Continue to: The change in this recommendation...

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