Cervical cancer screening


Adjunctive technologies[edit source]

A number of modern technologies based on spectroscopy and electrical impedance can be used in practice to increase the sensitivity, positive predictive value and specificity of colposcopy, including LuViva, DySIS and ZedScan.[1] Of these, only ZedScan is registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and is undergoing evaluation in Australia. These are not commonly used in Australia.

Back to top

Modalities of treatment not commonly used in Australia[edit source]

Cryotherapy[edit source]

This is not recommended in resource-rich countries, where alternative treatment modalities exist, as the rate of clearance of HSIL (CIN3) is poor and the persistence or recurrence of HSIL (CIN2/3) is higher than with other techniques. When used for the treatment of a symptomatic inflamed ectropion or persistent low-grade disease, a double-freeze technique is preferred, and has lower rates of residual disease compared with a single-freeze technique.[2][3] It is rarely, if ever, used in Australia.

Thermal Coagulation (Semm or ‘Cold’ coagulation)[edit source]

The thermal coagulator is a self-contained electrically powered device which works with a probe at 60–130 degrees Centigrade (it was known as ‘cold’ because it works at lower temperature than diathermy). The probe, which comes with half a dozen different profiles, goes through a self-sterilising cycle before being applied directly to cervix in 20-second applications that can be multiply repeated to cover the whole TZ. Studies have confirmed its efficacy in benign, low and high-grade abnormalities.[4][5] There is currently a resurgence of interest in using this modality in Europe, and in future it may be promoted in Australia.

Back to top

Documentation[edit source]

High-quality patient management requires meticulous documentation of the woman’s medical record. The results of consultations, examinations and treatments must be recorded, preferably electronically to facilitate submission of colposcopy data to the NCSR. It is useful to keep an annotated diagram of the cervix and vagina or take a digitally captured image. The minimum colposcopy data set should always be recorded.

Description of abnormalities should be in line with the 2011 IFCPC terminology (see 2011 International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (IFCPC) nomenclature). The following information should be included:

  • the adequacy of the examination
  • the absence (or presence) of evidence of invasive disease
  • the presence of a squamous and/or glandular pre-cancerous abnormality
  • the extent of the TZ, ectocervically and endocervically and hence the TZ Type; 1, 2, or 3. This should also clearly mention extension of abnormalities onto the vaginal fornices, if present.
  • the number of cervical quadrants involved in any abnormality
  • the overall colposcopic impression.

Colposcopic findings at the time of treatment should be recorded especially if there has been a change in appearance of the cervix.

In addition the following should be included:

  • the mode and technique of treatment
  • the depth of tissue destruction achieved in all ablative treatments
  • the type of excision: Types 1, 2 or 3
  • the size of loop/fixed profile wire used in all LEEP/LLETZ and Fisher/Utah conisation procedures and the diathermy settings
  • the laser setting and length of time of application
  • any complication occurring during or immediately following the treatment.

Back to top

References[edit source]

Back to top