Journal article

Cervical cancer screening in low-resource settings: a smartphone image application as an alternative to colposcopy

Background: Visual inspection after application of acetic acid (VIA) and Lugol's iodine (VILI) is a cervical cancer (CC) screening approach that has recently been adopted in low-and middle-income countries (LMIC). Innovative technologies allow the acquisition of consecutive cervical images of VIA and VILI using a smartphone application. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of smartphone images in order to assess the feasibility and usability of a mobile application for CC screening in LMIC. Methods: Between May and November 2015, women aged 30-65 years were recruited in a CC screening campaign in Madagascar. Human papillomavirus-positive women were invited to undergo VIA/VILI assessment. Pictures of their cervix were taken using a Samsung Galaxy S5 with an application called "Exam", which was designed to obtain high-quality images and to classify them in the following sequence: native, VIA, VILI and posttreatment. Experts in colposcopy were asked to evaluate if the quality of the pictures was sufficient to establish the diagnosis and to assess sharpness, focus and zoom. Results: The application use was simple and intuitive, and 208 pictures were automatically classified and recorded in the patient's file. The quality was judged as adequate for diagnosis in 93.3% of cases. The interobserver agreement was kappa = 0.45 (0.23-0.58), corresponding to a moderate agreement on the common scale of kappa values. Conclusion: This smartphone application allows the acquisition of good quality images for VIA/VILI diagnosis. The classification of images in a patient database makes them accessible to on-and off-site experts, and allows continuous clinical education. Smartphone applications may offer an alternative to colposcopy for CC screening in LMIC.


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