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Thursday 24th May 2018

Computerised test for smears

29th June 2007

Experts believe that a new computerised test for cervical cancer can detect more abnormalities than conventional smears.

cervical cancer

In England at present, cells taken from the cervix are spread on a slide and studied under a microscope.

But, according to the British Medical Journal, evidence from Australia shows a computerised reading system is better at spotting suspect cancers.

In the study Dr Elizabeth Davey and colleagues from Sydney University found that the ThinPrep Imager (TPI) detected 1.3 more cases of so-called “high-grade? cervical abnormalities per 1,000 women screened than the conventional manual slide reading. Fewer sliders were also found to be unsatisfactory using TPI.

The study findings said that TPI would increase detection from 7.7 to 9.0 cases per 1,000 women screened. Detection of low-grade lesions was also increased, meaning more women could be identified as in need of further testing.

In England all women aged 25-64 can have a free cervical screening test every three to five years but the TPI may now allow a longer interval between screenings.

The technology is now being evaluated by NHS Cancer Screening Programmes officials, which is in the process of introducing the liquid-based cytology (LBC) method of preparing cervical samples for examination, and due to be fully implemented by 2008.

Rather than conventional smears made by transferring cervical samples taken by a wooden collection instrument directly onto a glass slide, LBC slides are made by rinsing a brush collection instrument in liquid to produce a suspension, which is processed in a laboratory to produce a single layer of cells.


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