A Revolutionary New Mobile Technology for Cervical Screenings
10 October 2017 by - Dr Pandelis Athanasias
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, but it is also one of the most preventable. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that every year around 275,000 women will die from this type of cancer, with 85% of these being from the developing world. These women are at a much higher risk than those in the Western world because they are often unable to access the vital healthcare services needed to detect abnormal cervical changes, such as a smear test and colposcopy.
Now, a new ‘game-changing’ device exists, named The EVA (Enhanced Visual Assessment) System, which can help to easily and quickly carry out cervical screenings. The EVA was created by Israel-based organisation MobileODT, whose idea was to leverage the power of mobile phones to make screening accessible for high risk, low-income women across the world.
While many people in developing countries lack access to a physician, they generally still have access to a mobile phone. The device, therefore, allows any health provider in the world to perform expert visual diagnosis in the early stages.
The EVA device comprises of a mobile colposcope which attaches to the handset and has optical and illumination mechanisms to help capture clear images of the cervix in a matter of minutes. As such, cervical abnormalities can be detected quickly and the images can be shared with other medical professionals for a second opinion, then added to a database which can be used to further aid medical research and thus improve diagnoses.
This technology has been praised for its convenience and affordability. While traditional colposcopes generally cost between $10,000-$15,000, this device is only $1,800. As such, it is now being used in 25 countries, screening over 16,000 patients; from world-leading hospital groups in the US to independent nurses in remote Kenyan villages.
The EVA device has been hailed as ‘revolutionary’, making it easier for any healthcare provider in any setting to screen patients for pre-cancerous changes. Some health professionals have even remarked that this type of device could eventually replace the traditional smear test, though this remains to be seen.