Device helps detect cervical cancer earlier

August 16, 2010

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major risk factor for development of cervical cancer. Statistics show that there were more than 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States in 2009, and more than 4,000 of those cases ended in death.

TREATMENT: Three types of standard treatments are used to treat cervical cancer: surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. New types of therapies are being tested in clinical trials.

LIGHT TOUCH MACHINE: Researchers are now investigating a new, non-invasive test that has the potential to improve the early detection of cervical cancer. The LightTouch machine does not require a tissue sample or the delay of lab analysis like current techniques.

"The advantage that you have for the patient is that this is an automated reading, so once it becomes permanent, you will have an image that will come out that you can communicate to the patient right then after the visit instead of having to wait for results," Nahida Chakhtoura, M.D., an assistant professor of OB/GYN at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe.

LightTouch works by analyzing light reflected from the cervix. It creates an image of the cervix for the doctor that highlights the location and severity of disease. In a clinical trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, LightTouch reduced the number of unnecessary follow-up procedures as a result of false positive Pap tests by 55-percent.

"It's exciting to see how we can apply new technology into something that we normally do and improve our standards on how we evaluate patients for pre-cancerous disease and cancer," Dr. Chakhtoura said.


Jackie Taylor
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Miami, FL
(305) 585-5131

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