Deploying the Enhanced Visual Assessment (EVA) System at initial screenings leads to a higher cervical cancer detection rates in India of suspected precancerous and cancerous lesions for women in both urban and rural areas, than a Pap smear alone, according to a 2017 study conducted by MobileODT and Apollo Hospitals.
India is home to one-third of all deaths from cervical cancer globally, where 453 million women are at risk of developing the preventable disease. Sadly, women are often diagnosed with cervical cancer during their childbearing and child-raising years. Despite this, only 3.1% of women in India are screened.
Through the World Bank/IFC-funded study, Apollo Hospitals and MobileODT partnered to assess the EVA System as a technological tool for high-quality and more cost-effective cervical cancer screenings for women across the country.
Addressing healthcare challenges
The study addressed the many challenges both public and private healthcare providers face by evaluating the feasibility of the EVA System’s software – including overcoming the resource-intensive requirements for traditional screening methods including a Pap smear that requires supplies, laboratories, and pathologists.
Led by Dr. Malika Samuel, the far-reaching effort resulted in 567 women being enrolled in the study. The study team was comprised of 29 dedicated, talented health care providers at seven diverse clinical locations — from super-specialty hospitals in urban areas, to remote rural outreach centers a part of Apollo’s Total Health Program.
During the study, which improved cervical cancer detection rates in India, women were screened through colposcopy with the EVA System, as well as with Pap smears for cervical cancer and other abnormalities at the first screening. Findings showed a higher rate of identification of suspected precancerous lesions by including a visual assessment with the EVA System than a Pap smear alone. A review of cases by expert gynecologists confirmed these conclusions using the software as part of the EVA System solution.
Whilst full results of the study will be published in 2018, additional findings revealed gynecologists conducting screenings scored either 4/5 out of 5 on all measures of feasibility, usability, and patient satisfaction with the EVA System. Gynecologists shared that the EVA System proved to be a quick and easy way to evaluate the cervix, and all investigators felt it can be extended to peripheral centers with training where Pap smear collection and interpretation is not easily available.
Anecdotally, when women were shown images of their cervix and provided with results at the time of screening, providers commented that patients expressed they were more likely to seek treatment and had a greater awareness of cervical cancer prevention.
What’s next for improving cervical cancer detection rates in India?
Together, we are working towards a brighter, more healthy future for all women in India, as we know that when we invest in women’s health, our efforts can also help to reduce infant mortality, malnutrition, and poverty, as well as an increase in individual and nationwide economic growth.
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