A Less Invasive Pap Smear Test - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/9/04

A Less Invasive Pap Smear Test

We all know a woman's annual pap test can be a life saver.

"Of women that we diagnose with cervical cancer in the United States, almost half of them have never had a pap smear," says Dr. Enrique Hernandez, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

Pap tests can find abnormal cells that lead to cervical cancer, but many women let their annual visit slide because it's not a comfortable test and let's face it, the whole exam is no picnic. Now, researchers are studying a new device that could change that. It's called the Bio-Probe.

"The Bio-Probe has to be inserted into the vagina, and the woman herself could do it. It's so small that most women will consider it to be more comfortable than having a pap smear," says Dr. Hernandez.

The probe remains inserted for ten seconds while it measures electrical resistance.

"It's believed that as the normal tissue progress from normal to cancer, the amount of blood and fluid in the tissues increases, and that causes a decrease in electrical resistance," says Dr. Hernandez.

It's not approved yet but women like Cris Roberts are hoping they will be able to use the Bio-Probe at home to screen for cervical cancer.

"I don't like going to the doctor to get my pap test done. I think it's really uncomfortable. I think it's really invasive. I even think it's really difficult to schedule it, and I would prefer if something was available that I could use in my house," says Roberts.

So, over the next six to 12 months, researchers will gather data to figure out whether the probe is as effective as a pap test. If it wins approval from the FDA, this small device could make a big difference.

Researchers at Temple University say they also plan to use this technology to help prevent premature births by measuring cervical abnormalities. The Bio-Probe was originally created to measure changes in the menstrual cycle and has been used to help couples with infertility. So it's not really new, it's just being tested for a new use that could save lives and bring new convenience to the pap test.

For more information you can contact:

Temple University Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
3401 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Or Call at: (215) 707-3015

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