Furthermore, biopsies with the softer tool may be less painful,
Cervical biopsies sometimes fail to collect enough cells from the
cervix to accurately test for cancer, in which case another biopsy
For the new study, researchers compared data on 9,234 biopsy
specimens collected with an older, sharp hooked device that scrapes
cells from inside the cervix to data from 774 specimens obtained
with a newer, fabric alternative. With the sharp instruments, 4.2
percent of the specimens didn’t have enough cells to adequately test
for cervical cancer, compared with 0.6 percent of specimens
collected with the fabric brush.
“The fabric-based device takes a biopsy that is larger which allows
pathologists to have a better chance of finding abnormal cells,”
lead study author Dr. Justin Diedrich of the University of
California, Riverside, said by email.
As reported in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease, Diedrich
and colleagues examined data on lab results before and after 81
doctors and nurses switched from using sharp instruments to a fabric
This included biopsies done in 2010 and 2011 using an older, sharp
device known as a Kevorkian curette as well as biopsies done in from
2011 to 2013 using an alternative fabric brush instrument made by
Histologics LLC, a tissue-sampling company that provided funding for
The fabric hook has material, similar to the rough side of Velcro,
that scrapes for tissue samples. This option may be less painful for
women than conventional sharp instruments, the study authors write.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether
the fabric-based alternative is safer, more effective or more
comfortable than sharp instruments. Researchers also didn’t examine
outcomes for women after they got the biopsy results to see how many
of them actually required repeat biopsies.
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“This paper cannot make a comparison of accuracy between the two
different methods,” said Dr. Christina Chu, a gynecologic oncology
specialist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia who wasn’t
involved in the study.
Because the fabric brush is a single-use device, while the sharp
instrument can be used repeatedly, costs are different, Chu said by
email. While the Kevorkian sharp curette costs $40 to $50, it can be
sterilized and used hundreds of times, compared to a $3.75 cost for
every single-use fabric brush.
Getting vaccinated for human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes
cervical cancer, and getting Pap tests to screen for tumors can help
prevent malignancies from developing and improve the odds of
catching cancer early if it does develop.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that
children get two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart
when they are 11 to 12 years old. Teens and young adults who get
their first shot at ages 15 through 26 years should get three doses
of the HPV vaccine.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a Pap
test every three years for women aged 21 to 29, and every five years
from ages 30 to 65.
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2wIm2MH Journal of Lower Genital Tract
Disease, online July 25, 2017.
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