Screening: Jackie Simons, BHB senior technologist for anatomic pathology, screens a sample cervical smear. *Photo supplied
Screening: Jackie Simons, BHB senior technologist for anatomic pathology, screens a sample cervical smear. *Photo supplied

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) has recently introduced the ThinPrep Imaging System for cervical cancer screening.

Significantly more effective than conventional pap testing for detecting pre-cancerous cells, this technology has contributed to a 28 per cent decrease in cervical cancers in the United States.

Cervical cancer is almost 100 per cent curable if detected early.

However, without accurate screening methods, some cervical cancers may go undetected.

The hospital’s new process combines revolutionary imaging technology with human interpretive expertise to improve cervical cancer screening efficiency and performance. KEMH is also the only facility in Bermuda utilizing this equipment.

“We are very excited to offer the ThinPrep system to women in Bermuda,” says Jackie Simons, BHB senior technologist for Anatomic Pathology.

“This technology increases sensitivity and specificity over previous manual screening methods.

Each Pap test is now analyzed by the new system and then screened by a skilled cytotechnologist.

Cells of interest are highlighted for the technologist to review, helping them to better focus their skills on pre-cancerous cells.

This new method improves disease detection and enables early treatment interventions to prevent cancer.”

In general, doctors in Bermuda recommend beginning pap testing when women become sexually active.

Women with certain risk factors may require frequent testing and are encouraged to discuss cervical cancer screening with their healthcare provider.

These risk factors include a previous diagnosis of cervical cancer or a pap test that showed precancerous cells, exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth, HIV infection and a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, chemotherapy or chronic corticosteroid use.

“The good news for women in Bermuda is they now have access to state-of-the-art cervical screening,” said Dr. James, BHB chief of pathology.

“We are committed to providing our patients with the best technology to detect disease early and our laboratory uses the most effective methods available.

“Our new screening process offers significant improvements and by making this our standard practice, we are delivering the highest quality healthcare to our community.”