question and answer
Bimanual pelvic screening
December 2010
Is there any evidence for performing a bimanual (pelvic) examination as a screening tool in a completely asymptomatic woman (of any age)? Maria Hubinette, MD, Vancouver, BC
There is no evidence that a bimanual examination has been able to change ovarian cancer outcomes in an asymptomatic population being screened with this method. The gynecologists will tell you there’s little evidence that it does harm and since you are likely performing a pap smear anyway — for which there is evidence of benefit as a screening tool — it’s a test that we do recommend for the sake of completeness. There’s no doubt that some pathology is picked up doing this but it still remains a screening test with no survival benefit supported by existing evidence.
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