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New ACS Cancer Screening Guidelines

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To create more transparency about cancer screening and its true benefits and harms the American Cancer Society (ACS) has revised its guidelines.

To comply with these new standards the ACS will now use an independent writing group to create the new guidelines, to ensure consistency, transparency of information, and clear communication about the effects and the good aspects of cancer screening.

Tim Byers, MD, MPH, is the chair of the society’s guidelines process work-group, and said in a statement, “This new process should ensure that ACS cancer screening guidelines will continue to be a trustworthy source of information for both healthcare practitioners and the general public to guide clinical practice, personal choice, and public policy about cancer screening”.

In March of 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), outlined how new guidelines for cancer screening should be developed, and the American Cancer Society confirmed that their new guidelines will comply with IOM’s standards.

Byers added, “Historically, the ACS has convened ad hoc screening guideline groups to come up with its recommendations for methods of cancer screening. Although that approach has resulted in highly credible and useful guidelines, we saw that the ACS process could be improved in terms of consistency, transparency, scientific rigor, and communications.”

The new process will also include a final review from professional organizations and experts to make suggestions and comments on the new guidelines. Both these experts as well as the independent writing group will ensure that the new guidelines are easy for the general public to interpret, and free from the ACS’s professional conflict of interests.

Cancer screening information will also be reviewed periodically by the independent evidence group and a rewriting and update of the regulations will be rewritten every five years.

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