A new device to detect cervical cancer,has been developed by Australians which may replace the PAP smear, it is to be trialed in the UK, Italy, Spain as well as Australia.
Sydney-based Polartechnics Ltd has developed the device dubbed TruScan in collaboration with CSIRO and claims that it offers instant results and greater ccuracy than PAP smears.
TruScan uses a pen-like probe to collect information directly from the cervix about the colour and electrical properties of cervical tissue. A computer which is attached to the probe uses mathematical algorithms to analyse the data and classifies the tissue as healthy, pre-cancerous or cancerous.Unlike the PAP smear which aims to scrape cells from the cervice.
Each year 300 women in Australia and hundreds of thousands of women around the world die from cervical cancer. PAP smears have been used for half a century to detect changes in the cells of the cervix - an early sign of cervical cancer.
Managing Director Mr Victor Skladnev said that clinical testing of TruScan has shown it to be at least 20 per cent more accurate than the PAP smear which he says misses about half of all cervical disease.
"Half the errors from PAP smears are due to sampling," he said. "TruScan diagnoses on the spot and guides the user with lights to the correct location for sampling."The device emits radiation in the visible and infrared spectra along with electrical impulses. Mr Skladnev said that these emissions could not be felt by the patient and there were no adverse effects.
Mr Skladnev said the version of TruScan to be trialed within the next two months will be covered with a hygenic sheath complete with electrodes and optical windows.TruScan is expected to be released in Europe this year and on the Australian market in 2002.