Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, with an estimated half a million new cases and 260,000 deaths each year. Developing countries bear about 84% of the global burden of the disease and 80% of the mortality due to a lack of effective screening programs. Cytology-based screening used in industrial countries is both expensive and difficult to implement in lower income countries with poor healthcare infrastructure and a shortage of pathologists.
Low-cost optical technologies have been introduced in the low resource setting but to this date they are either hard to use single point measurements or require expert pathologist for image interpretation.
Mueller Matrix imaging (MMI) is a novel imaging modality that uses polarized light to highlight subtle changes in cervical collagen structure typical of early stage cervical cancer. Recent ex-vivo work has shown that MMI is capable of up to 83% sensitivity and specificity in separating Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia stages. Unfortunately, the methodology requires a costly clinical colposcope with high encumbrance and low portability.
We have developed a low cost portable Mueller Matrix imaging colposcope based on Savart platesthat can be deployed in a low resource setting and used by lay personnel.
The device was used in the evaluation of cervical cancer risk in a pilot study of twenty-two volunteers in Mysore, India. The Papanicolaou test was used as a gold standard to in the validation of the polarimetric findings. Acceptability of the device by the patients was also ascertained.
The development of a low cost and easy to use imaging system for the diagnosis of cervical cancer could be life changing for many women with poor or no access to specialized health care worldwide.
Jessica C. Ramella-Roman, Mariacarla Gonzalez, Karla Montejo, Karl Krupp, A. DeHoog, Vijaya Srinivas, and Purnima Madhivanan, "Determination of cervical cancer risk with a snapshot Mueller matrix polarimeter in Mysore India (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10485, Optics and Biophotonics in Low-Resource Settings IV, 1048512 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 5 April 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290632.5751448292001.
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