Startup claims device can spot cervical cancer with cellphone

Doctor says device could help get lifesaving test to more women

Last year, more than half a million women were diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is the fourth-most frequent cancer in women, according to the World Health Organization.

An Israeli startup says it has new technology that could be lifesaving for women -- a simple, inexpensive device called an EVA system that a doctor connects to a cellphone, allowing it to detect cervical cancer.

The device uses an algorithm to determine a patient's risk of cancer by comparing images to a database. 

The company claims it's more reliable than a doctor performing a traditional colposcopy to ID abnormal potentially cancerous cells.

The device takes images of the cervix, using a smartphone enclosed in a waterproof case, and those images are then examined for any abnormalities. The EVA Colpo has it's own light source and a camera that magnifies 16 times.

A doctor will still need to use a speculum to dilate the cervix. The device then allows the doctor to examine the cervix on the phone's screen in real time in detail.

Dr. Sonnie Kim-Aschchi was skeptical at first about the device, but after doing some research, she said the EVA device is a game changer.

“You don't have to get a biopsy. There's no discomfort and you don't have to wait for the result,” Kim-Aschchi said. “A lot of times while people are waiting, that's when people fall out of the follow-ups.”

The EVA can also be used by a primary care doctor, increasing access to a potentially lifesaving test.

“(It's) a lot cheaper than the regular colposcopy machine for the doctor's office, and it's mobile so you can go to a small clinic,” Kim-Aschchi said. “It's more access to the patient, cost-effective, more accurate and less painful because you don't have to get a biopsy and you don't have to wait for the results.”

Colposcopies are usually the next step after you have an abnormal PAP smear.

The EVA system is not cleared yet for use by the Food and Drug Administration for diagnostic purposes but can be used as visualization tool. The company hopes to have FDA approval within a year or two.

The EVA system is already being used in 29 countries, including Kenya, India and Cambodia.  

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