This is among the key findings reported in an English-language article in the current (January 2005) issue of the "Revista Panamericana de Salud Pblica/Pan American Journal of Public Health," a peer-reviewed public health journal published by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
This finding is considered important because cancer of the cervix -- at the base of the uterus -- is the second only to breast cancer as the most common form of cancer among women. Cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, which causes lesions to grow on the cervix. If left untreated, those lesions ultimately develop into cancer.
Cervical cancer kills more women annually than childbirth, and it is estimated that it could affect as many as 750,000 women by 2020 and as many as 1 million new cases by 2050. Currently, about 230,000 women die annually of cervical cancer and nearly 80 percent of these cases occur in underdeveloped and poverty-stricken countries. The article's principal author, physician Jose Jeronimo is from Peru and works at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute. He said that the screening method using vinegar known as VIA (the acronym for visual inspection with acetic acid) should be seen as an alternative to the Papanicolaou smear, commonly known as the Pap smear.
With VIA, more women are likely to be followed up and receive any additional confirmatory testing needed, and treatment. Given those advantages, the VIA is being introduced in developing nations around the world. However, that screening is recommended primarily for low-resource settings, with medical personnel with limited training an
Contact: Mr. Daniel Epstein
Pan American Health Organization