Cervical cancer screening and the Pap smear

Cancer screening and cancer diagnosis
Cancer screening, cancer diagnosis, the Pap smear and a cheap alternative
Created by Dr Papaniculaou in the 1940s, the Pap smear has been a major contributor to the lowered rates of cervical cancer since that time. The screening test for cervical cancer can detect both pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the cervix.
The test involves inserting a speculum into the vagina so the cervix can be clearly seen. Sample cells are then taken from the outer part of the cervix using a spatula and using a brush from the inner part. A pelvic examination is also conducted at the same time. An annual smear is recommended after the commencement of sexual activity.
Experts believe up to half the young women in Britain are infected with a high risk strain of HPV by the time they are 30 years old.
Alternative cervical screening techniques?
A much cheaper test now being commonly used in parts of Africa and India involves the use of common vinegar which shows up problem cells under normal light, for example from a special torch. It is 100 per cent accurate and a ten year trial by IARC was stopped after just seven years because the test was so successful. Women who were screened were 25 per cent less likely to develop cervical cancer and 35 per cent less likely to die from the disease.

Cancer screening and cancer diagnosis
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