Friday, March 21, 2014

Visual inspection with acetic acid for cervical cancer screening

In an ideal world, women would get all the Pap smears they need to prevent eminently preventable death by cervical cancer. In reality, many don't. Cervical cancer kills over a quarter-million women each year, most of them in developing nations.

It turns out, though, that painting a woman's cervix with white table vinegar is a cheap means of visually highlighting abnormal areas of the cervix and detecting possible cervical cancer. That's no small thing. Here's the BBC's take.

The vinegar method, a.k.a. visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), has been around for some time. In one recent study, the test's sensitivity compared favorably to that of the Pap test.