Home-Based Cervical Cancer Screening Test Used in El Salvador

Leslie Carol Botha: I believe I remember posting an article similar to this awhile  back and it was out of Thailand.  I remember the photo below. If that is the case there are now two developing countries looking into alternatives to the HPV vaccine with education and an at home test. I hope Dr. Miriam Cremer will be successful in her quest to screen millions of women. Too bad women in the U.S. only get a vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix) that is harming their health and killing them. Sometimes one needs to ask – ‘who is the more advanced country?’

Cervical Cancer: El Salvador Gets a Screening Test That Women Can Administer at Home

Published: September 24, 2012

Agnes Dherbeys for The New York Times

A new way to screen poor women for cervical cancer was introduced this month in El Salvador, using a test that was originally developed in China.

Cervical cancer was once the leading cancer killer of women in the United States, but deaths have been dramatically reduced in the last 50 years as a result of pap smears. But those must be stained and read under a microscope by a trained cytologist, which makes them expensive and unwieldy in poor countries, where cervical cancer still kills more than 250,000 women a year.

Some countries, like Thailand, screen women by shining a light on the cervix and painting it with vinegar, which reveals precancerous lesions that can then be burned off with liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide. (Above, community health workers in Thailand.)

The new test, called careHPV and made by Qiagen, a Dutch company, is a swab test for the DNA of the papillomaviruses that cause cancer. In a study published in The Lancet Oncology, it was more than twice as sensitive as the vinegar test. The test worked even when women inserted the swabs themselves, which can be done at home and so is easier and faster than having them go to a clinic for visual inspections.

Dr. Miriam Cremer, the founder of Basic Health International, which oversees the new project, said she hopes to screen 30,000 Salvadoran women for cervical cancer in two years and produce a model for expanding screening to millions.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.