Artificial Intelligence Transforms Cervical Pre-Cancer Screening
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Cervical cancer typically develops slowly over many years, even decades, often without symptoms. The long, asymptomatic development is one of the many reasons why cervical cancer goes undetected and is the fourth most common cancer in women, worldwide. Despite this, cervical cancer is entirely preventable and the eradication of the disease lies in prevention.
Cervical pre-cancer screening is the most powerful form of prevention. The success of these screenings is due, in part, to the repeat testing that women typically undergo over many years.
In Europe and the United States, it’s protocol for screen positive women to be investigated and treated using colposcopy. The conventional colposcope hasn't changed significantly since its introduction nearly 100 years ago in Hamburg. This basic colposcopy allows magnified, illuminated examination of the surface epithelial layers of the ‘at-risk’ tissue area known as the Transformation Zone (TZ). The subjectivity and variability in the results create a larger margin of error.
Smart colposcopes, on the other hand, reduce the subjectivity from conventional devices through augmented intelligence. This form of AI increases precision by amplifying the physician’s skill, rather than replacing it. Objectivity is achieved by adding AI-driven cervical mapping technology that visually quantifies the cellular response to the acetic acid wash. Upon capturing the image, visual inspection algorithms can calculate the speed, intensity, and duration of the acetowhitening effect within seconds.
The result is cervical mapping, which looks similar to a heatmap. This visualization draws the physician’s attention to any potentially abnormal cells that may require a biopsy. Because cervical mapping instantly displays exam results, women can be screened and if necessary, treated in a single visit. The practitioner can immediately interpret and deliver the results, determine next steps, and use the enhanced biopsy selection if needed.
This streamlined, digital screening makes it possible for cervical cancer screening to be more accessible and precise for all women globally. Through regular screenings, cervical pre-cancer can be caught and treated in the earliest stages before it develops into cancer. This is how we can eradicate the disease worldwide.
To learn more about how cervical mapping works and how it transforms cervical pre-cancer screening, download the whitepaper.