A cheap test to diagnose cervical cancer is now available to help women from poor countries. This test that uses vinegar, acetic acid, a speculum and bright light as its key ingredients is believed to save millions of women around the world.
The researchers led by Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan conducted the test in India. Of the 31,000 women who were tested, 3,088 turned out positive. After further testing, 1,874 showed to have precancerous lesions.
The technique involves applying four% acetic acid (vinegar) to the uterine cervix and examining it with the naked eye under bright light. If a well-defined white area on the cervix is observed after one minute, the test is positive.
The researchers claimed that this method can detect most pre- cancer and cancer symptoms. It is believed to be equally effective to pap smear and HPV vaccines, which may be too expensive for many countries.