The USPSTF is considered to be an independent commission of the experts who aim to outline recommendations for the preventive services based on the review of their effectiveness. The fundamental idea of the Task Force is to improve the health status of people in the United States. The recommendations are made in the following spheres, namely:
- Counseling services;
- Preventive medications.
Organizational Structure, Membership and the Purpose of the USPSTF
The USPSTF includes sixteen experts. They are volunteers and considered to be recognizable in the field of preventive services and care. Their primary focus is:
- Behavioral health;
- Family medicine;
- Internal medicine;
The organizational structure includes one chair and two vice-chairs who are responsible for the appropriate functioning of the panel. The members of the panel are chosen by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The appointed members of the panel have the right to serve four years. The screening of the members is essential because this process helps to make sure that no conflicts of interest would take place.
Description of the USPSTF Scale for Screening Recommendations
The USPSTF divides recommendations into the following groups:
- Grade A. The service is recommended (substantial net benefit);
- Grade B. The service is recommended (moderate net benefit);
- Grade C. Not recommended; however, it depends on individual cases (small net benefit);
- Grade D. The service is not needed (no net benefit or harm);
- Grade I. The service is not sufficient (Grade definitions, 2016).
The USPSTF Recommendations Colon Cancer Screening
The USPSTF outlines recommendations for four categories of population:
- 50-75 years. Recommendation: the panel is sure that the screening for fecal occult blood testing is essential for the adults of 50-75 years (Grade A, substantial net benefit);
- 76-85 years. Recommendation: routine screening for colorectal cancer is not needed; however, every case should be considered individually because sometimes, routine screening for colorectal cancer is acceptable (Grade B, small net benefit);
- Over 85 years. Recommendation: no screening is needed because of the high harm index (Grade C, no net benefit) (Colorectal Cancer: Screening, 2016).
Comparison of USPSTF Recommendations and Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care
Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care provides the following recommendations:
- 50-59 years. Weak recommendation: screening with fecal occult blood testing every couple of years;
- 60-74 years. Strong recommendations: screening with fecal occult blood testing every couple of years;
- Over 75 years. Recommendation: screening should not be used for this category of people (Screening for Colorectal Cancer, 2016).
With the consideration of the stated above information, it is evident that USPSTF and Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care provide a patient with different recommendations. According to USPSTF, people aged between 50-75 need to undergo screening, whereas the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care provides a weak recommendation regarding this age. However, in other points the panels are similar.
The difference between the agencies derives from different theories and opinions that are represented in the sphere of medicine. First and foremost, it is worth pointing out that the life of a patient is of the highest concern and priority. Thus, the panels identify recommendations.
The panels are sure that people over 75 years should not use screening as it represents more harms than benefits. However, as for the group of people aged between 50-59, the organizations need to research this problem and provide scientific proof that these people should or should not undergo the process of screening. The health of the patients depends on this decision, and thus, the issue is essential to be taken into consideration.
Colorectal cancer: Screening. (2016). Web.
Grade definitions. (2016). Web.
Screening for colorectal cancer. (2016). Web.