Game-changing technology aids in detection of cervical cancer

News 6 spoke with one woman who shares her story

An estimated 13,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, the American Cancer Society said.

Of that number, roughly 4,000 of those diagnosed will die from the disease this year.

But now there is new state-of-the-art technology that is allowing doctors to see areas of concern that may be cancerous that they couldn’t see before.

"I guess like other women my first thought was, have I got cancer?" said Emma, a patient.

Emma's reaction to abnormal tissue found in her cervix during an annual exam is not uncommon.

The next step, take a closer look at the "abnormal tissue" and make sure it’s not precancerous.

That's where this new device comes in to play.

It’s called Dysis, and the technology allows doctors to see abnormal tissue in the cervix at an early stage, pinpointing the area of concern.

"Is this a game changer?" Eryka Washington asked.

"Oh I think so," gynecologist Dr Patricia St. John gynecologist said.

"Here is something that is going to change the quality of our exam," St. John said.

St. John said she is seeing positive results with her patients.

"Has this technology helped you detect things you might not have seen?" Washington asked.

"Oh many times already. And we've only been using it since July and we've seen several patients that we would have missed," St. John said.

Missing the exact spot to biopsy is easy.  It is completely subjective.

Currently, doctors use their own eye and best judgment and this technology cuts out any guesswork.

Here's why: A picture of the patient’s cervix is on a large monitor.

A color bar from light blue to white indicates areas of concern.

Light blue represents normal cells white are abnormal, possibly moderate to severe dysplasia or precancerous.

Using the mapping technology, areas that are abnormal are highlighted so doctors know exactly where to biopsy.

"If you don't biopsy the area that is of greatest concern you can miss the diagnosis," St. John said.

"These are the marked areas of concern," Ian-Vi Trindad, nurse practitioner, explained.

Vi-Trinidad says this new technology gives her more confidence on where to biopsy.

"I would biopsy this area, this area and this area," Trindad said.

But the mapping technology shows a new area of concern.

"It confirms the areas I marked up here are areas of concern for abnormal tissue, but this is an additional area I would have missed if I hadn't used the mapping technology,” Trinidad said.

In fact in this case, only 6 out of 27 clinicians chose the right area to biopsy.

"Many people are inaccurate, even the gynecologist who may do a few of them a month,"
Dr. Veronica Schimp said.

Schimp, a gynecological oncologist, said this technology will help physicians be better at their job.

"This is going to allow us to do fewer procedures because it's far more accurate,” Schimp continued.

That was the case with Emma.  A closer look with this new state-of-the-art technology, revealed no other procedures were necessary.

"She even said there was no need to take a biopsy.

I was so relieved by the outcome," Emma said.

Currently, doctors have a 50 percent chance of taking a biopsy of the correct area, however with this new mapping technology, DYSIS there is an 80 percent of them getting it right.