A new diagnostic test for cervical cancer that could replace the colposcope (usually used following an abnormal pap smear) is less painful and minimizes discomfort according to new research published in Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease .In the colposcope a metal instrument is used to obtain a small sampling of cells inside the cervix that is often painful for the patient and does not always provide good results.
An alternate device called the fabric -based endocervical curettage used a fabric hook similar to that found on the rough side of Velcro to do the sampling instead of the metal scraping. The hook simultaneously biopsies, traps, and stores the tissue for transport to the lab. Researchers said “We have found that the new fabric device has significantly fewer “inadequate” specimens—meaning patients did not need to return for repeat biopsies. ” “This new device means patients will get better results, with fewer patients needing repeat biopsies, which can increase patient satisfaction.”
A sample of 81 physicians and nurse colposcopists who switched from the old metal version (January, 2010 to July 2011) to the new fabric version (Sept 2011 to October, 2013) were included. The researchers looked at pathology lab results for the two periods. They found the new device is not sharp and removes the appropriate amount of cells with minimal discomfort. “Because the biopsy gets more tissue, it is able to find more precancerous cells. This could be the difference between intervening early before someone develops cancer and waiting until it has grown larger.”