Vinegar as a cancer screening tool
Cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. Each year, there are approximately half a million diagnosed cases of cervical cancer and around 250,000 actually die annually from the disease worldwide. Most of the fatalities come from developing countries where access to health care is a great challenge. While developed countries use sophisticated and modern devices in curing cervical cancer, third world countries cannot even afford an equipment for the early detection of the disease.
Cervical cancer cases can have a good prognosis, provided that they are detected during the early stages of the disease. Since screening is a problem in developing countries, scientists developed a rather inexpensive way for screening, especially in the far flung areas. A method called Visual Inspection with Acetic acid or VIA and colposcopy was introduced to screen for cervical cancer.
In VIA, a woman’s cervix is swabbed with 4% vinegar and then their cervix is visualized through colposcopy. Abnormal cells can be seen via colposcopy because acetic acid allows these cells to have a distinguished white color. Once a woman was tested to be positive of abnormal cells in her cervix, their cervical tissues are examined via biopsy and immediate cancer care is given in the health center. In this way, a woman’s visit is maximized as access to health care may mean additional expenses for a woman living in poor communities.
What is good about VIA is that it can easily be taught to people in the health center because of its simplicity. Countries with really poor communities do not have enough doctors and nurses in their areas so they are dependent on the trained people in the health center. Interestingly, even if VIA was not done by medical professionals, a wrong diagnosis accounts for only a minimal percentage. In addition to this, prompt medical care is given to women who are afflicted with cervical cancer, saving their lives from the possibility of death.