New mapping tool reducing risks for cervical cancer

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Shelly Symmes knows she’s at risk for cervical cancer.

“I had an abnormal pap smear,” says Symmes. “That’s where we started.”

Like most patients with abnormal pap smears, Shelly’s doctor wanted to pinpoint where those abnormal cells were. Her physician used a colposcope and a vinegar wash to find the atypical cells. But now, fortunately for Shelly and others like her, this tried-and-true technique just got a big upgrade.

“This computer is smart,” says Dr. Amy Moon-Holland of St. Vincent Carmel Women’s Center. “It’s been trained so when they developed the technology, the first thing they had to do is show the computer pictures of cervixes, and they would teach the computer what the results were.”

This new dysis advanced cervical imaging system makes a digital map of the patient’s cervix and then is able to compare it to thousands of others it has stored. It then creates an image of the cervix, color enhanced, so doctors can pinpoint exactly where the abnormal cells are.

“I’ve had three patients in my own practice where this machine found something significantly abnormal that I would have otherwise missed,” said Dr. Moon-Holland. “To me, that’s just astounding. I didn’t think that would happen, but it has.”

Armed with the exact location of the abnormal cells on the cervix, a biopsy can be done with enhanced precision, catching and removing the abnormal cells, which is exactly what Symmes needs.

“I don’t feel frightened anymore,” she said.

The manufacturer claims this new dysis system increases detection rates from 67 to 97 percent.  It has been cleared by the FDA and is used around the world.  Four thousand women die of cervical cancer in this country every year.

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