An Indian-American professor Nimmi Ramanujam, along with her team, has developed a new handheld low-cost device that will help women check for cervical cancer without using a painful speculum.

According to a survey by Cancer India last year, one woman dies every seven and a half minutes in India because of cervical cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer in India and 22.86% of all cancer cases in women. Yet, in rural India, only 10-20 per cent women are actually aware of the disease, another survey revealed.

Nimmi Ramanujam calls it the “pocket colposcope” and with the help of a team of researchers at Duke University in North Carolina has manufactured a device that pairs with a laptop or mobile easily, and could even lead to women being able to self-screen.

Indian-American Develops Handheld Device For Cervical Cancer Screening
Photo Credit: The Pioneer

Also read: The threat of Cervical Cancer: The Importance of screening

Ramanujam’s device is very handy to use as it takes up the size of a pocket-tampon, so this “all-in-one device” can perfectly be fit in the purse. The team has tested the device among 15 volunteers and more than 80 per cent said they were able to get a good image.

“The mortality rate of cervical cancer should absolutely be zero per cent because we have all the tools to see and treat it. But it isn’t. That is in part because women do not receive screening or do not follow up on a positive screening to have colposcopy performed at a referral clinic. We need to bring colposcopy to women so that we can reduce this complicated string of actions into a single touch point,” Ramanujam said to NDTV.

According to Ramanujam, the standard practices for cervical cancer screening require “a speculum (a metal device designed to spread the vaginal walls apart), a colposcope (a magnified telescopic device and camera designed to enable medical professionals to see the cervix), as well as a highly trained professional to administer the test”.

Also watch: Beating cancer with an artist’s brush: Meet Alka Agarwala

More than 500,000 new cases to cervical cancer get registered annually worldwide. In the United States, physicians diagnose more than 10,000 cases each year, with more than 4,000 American women dying of the disease each year.

Also Read: Arathi Singh of Cardiac Design Labs on how technology is saving lives

Ramanujam’s team is working on a regulatory clearance for the device, which they are hoping to receive by the end of 2017. The pocket-sized tampon-type device is structured with lights and a camera at one end.

Also Read: Dance Away The Cancer by Meghna Pant

Feature Image Credit: E! Online

Read More Stories By Ria Das

Join Us on https://www.facebook.com/SheThePeoplePage

Follow Us on https://twitter.com/SheThePeopleTV

Your Story On She The People