Smartphone Use for Cervical Cancer Screening in Low-Resource Countries: A Pilot Study Conducted in Madagascar


BACKGROUND Visual inspection of the cervix after application of 5% acetic acid (VIA) is a screening technique for cervical cancer used widely in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). To improve VIA screening performance, digital images after acid acetic application (D-VIA) are taken. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of a smartphone for on- and off-site D-VIA diagnosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS Women aged 30-65 years, living in the city of Ambanja, Madagascar, were recruited through a cervical cancer screening campaign. Each performed a human papillomavirus (HPV) self-sample as a primary screen. Women testing positive for HPV were referred for VIA followed by D-VIA, cervical biopsy and endocervical curettage according to routine protocol. In addition, the same day, the D-VIA was emailed to a tertiary care center for immediate assessment. Results were scored as either D-VIA normal or D-VIA abnormal, requiring immediate therapy or referral to a tertiary center. Each of the three off-site physicians were blinded to the result reported by the one on-site physician and each gave their individual assessment followed by a consensus diagnosis. Statistical analyses were conducted using STATA software. RESULTS Of the 332 women recruited, 137 (41.2%) were HPV-positive and recalled for VIA triage; compliance with this invitation was 69.3% (n = 95). Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia was detected in 17.7% and 21.7% of digital images by on-site and off-site physicians, respectively. The on-site physician had a sensitivity of 66.7% (95%CI: 30.0-90.3) and a specificity of 85.7% (95%CI: 76.7-91.6); the off-site physician consensus sensitivity was 66.7% (95%CI: 30.0-90.3) with a specificity of 82.3% (95%CI: 72.4-89.1). CONCLUSION This pilot study supports the use of telemedicine for off-site diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, with diagnostic performance similar to those achieved on-site. Further studies need to determine if smartphones can improve cervical cancer screening efficiency in LMIC.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134309

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@inproceedings{Catarino2015SmartphoneUF, title={Smartphone Use for Cervical Cancer Screening in Low-Resource Countries: A Pilot Study Conducted in Madagascar}, author={Rosa Catarino and Pierre Vassilakos and Stefano Scaringella and Manuela Undurraga-Malinverno and Ulrike Meyer-Hamme and Dominique Ricard-Gauthier and Juan Carlos Matute and Patrick Petignat and M{\'a}rcia E Lopes Consolaro}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2015} }