Do It Yourself Cervical Cancer Screeninghttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/science/cervical-cancer-el-salvador-gets-a-screening-test-that-women-can-administer-at-home.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y
Cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted infection. It was a leading killer of women in the United States until the George Papanicolaou invented the Pap smear, which involves swabbing the cervix. But the test is expensive and requires a trained cytologist to read the cell smears. This article describes a new test that is so simple, a woman can do it herself at home. And its affordable and effective. This test will now be administered in El Salvador where most people can't afford the expensive Pap smear. This will likely save thousands of women's lives over the years to come.
Imagine if this test had been around when Henrietta Lacks was alive? Perhaps her condition could have been caught sooner and spared her life. I believe that this is the new frontier of medicine: affordable, easy to administer healthcare. With the majority of the world's population in poor and developing nations, scientists should turn their attention to serving those most at risk: those who can't afford the latest advances in Western medicine. This kind of research takes funding from charitable organizations, not big pharmaceutical companies that are only interested in profit. This new cervical cancer screen was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
I am happy for the women of El Salvador who will doubtless benefit from this research, and I hope that the test spreads to other poor regions of the world. However, the question still remains if the women who get the test will be able to afford the follow-up procedures necessary to treat cervical lesions.