13 Mar 2013

Successful PNG combined cervical screening and treatment pilot

3:01 pm on 13 March 2013

The pilot of a globally successful cervical cancer early intervention programme is showing good early results at two hospitals in the Papua New Guinea Highlands.

"The head of science at PNG's Institute of Medical Research, Andrew Vallely (VAL-uh-lee) , says huge numbers of women are coming forward for screening and treatment of pre-cancerous cervical lesions during the same visit at the Mt Hagen and Goroka hospitals."

He says the technique used is a low cost, appropriate technology approach to cervcial screening and early treatment in women between the ages of 30 and menopause.

Dr Vallely says clinicians use a cotton swab to paint the cervix with vinegar.

After the vinegar has been allowed some time to work the abnormal areas show up white and those abnormal areas can then in the same visit actually be treated with a cold probe, a cryo-probe, which is generally either electric or often connected to a carbon dioxide cyclinder. And they can be applied to the cervix and they freeze that area of abnormality.

Andrew Vallely says PNG's rates of cervical cancer are among the highest in the world.