By Dr. Payal Keswarpu
Healthcare professionals have worked courageously over the past few years to meet increasing demands from our global health systems while combating the COVID-19 pandemic. But the fear of infecting or getting infected by the virus has kept many from seeking non-emergency health services, particularly, cervical cancer screening.
Innovative approaches, such as telehealth consultations, have evolved out of the pandemic, but more work needs to be done to restore practitioner-patient engagements, and digital records to bring care closer to patients who need it the most.
Worldwide, one woman dies from cervical cancer every two minutes. Yet, as many as 93% of these cases are preventable with proper vaccination and screening.1 This is particularly prevalent in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries, like India or Africa, where limited medical resources and gaps in access to care make it very difficult to receive preventative healthcare.
Unfortunately, most women in LMIC diagnosed with cervical cancer are lost to follow-up care due to social, economic, awareness, or geographic barriers.2 Women often have to travel hours to receive appropriate care, which can lead to delays in care or progressive disease. Proper screening and preventative treatment play a huge role in addressing the disease and reducing the incidence of death in these populations.
Our team recognized a significant need to improve global screening services – providing an efficient, timely and accurate option to screen for, and eventually eliminate, cervical cancer. With clinical studies revealing more than 90% accuracy, cerVIA test kit delivers new diagnostic capabilities that makes it easy for healthcare facilities to manage consistency and quality of the test with single-use items, lessening the risk of cross-infection between patients and allowing preventative health services to continue — even in the middle of a pandemic.3
To reach the WHO’s goal of eliminating cervical cancer by 2030, early detection is imperative, which is why new screening methodologies should:
- Enable a much quicker examination than existing tests
- Reduce the amount of time women spend in healthcare facilities
- Provide results during the same visit (single visit)
- Reduce the frequency of hospital visits
These capabilities give providers more time to treat even more patients in a single day, minimizing the number of patients lost to follow-up and maximizing the number of those successfully screened and eventually treated for the disease.
With more accurate, timely, and quality tests that are widely distributed, we can save millions of lives, ensuring families and communities in these regions remain strong, socially and economically. This can have a significant impact globally, and diagnostic companies can do their part by providing high quality, accessible, affordable, and efficient tools that lessen significant burdens for women to access cervical cancer screening.