A test that used to take weeks to get the results from may now take only minutes, and women across the CSRA have access to the screening at the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University.
“The test is so fast, we can have the results of the screening before a patient walks out of the exam room,” said Dr. Daron Ferris, professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Georgia.
The folate receptor biomarker test uses a probe with a sponge on the end of it to see if a woman has a pre-cancerous lesion on her cervix that could lead to cervical cancer. If a lesion is present, the part of the sponge where it is located will turn blue. Ferris and his team place the sponge in a spectrometer to confirm the color change and look for discoloration on other areas of the sponge.
“The test was developed in China, but is now being studied in the U.S.,” Ferris said. “The Georgia Cancer Center in Augusta is proud to be one of the few sites in the United States making this test available to women in our community.”
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there will be an estimated 430 cervical cancer cases in Georgia with 140 deaths expected. In South Carolina, the number of new cases is 220 with the number of deaths estimated at 70.
Dr. Ferris says the test could have huge benefits for women in rural parts of Georgia and South Carolina who may have trouble getting access to reliable transportation to get to their doctor’s office.
“Because it takes only minutes to get the results from the test, those women do not have to worry about scheduling a second trip to the doctor’s office,” he said. “This relieves the burden to find transportation and it can also lower their stress, since they’re not spending two weeks worrying about what the results will be.”
ACS statistics show cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. However, between 1955 and 1992, the death rate declined significantly due to an increase in cervical cancer screenings.
Interested women do not need to be a patient of Augusta University Medical Center. Along with the biomarker test, women taking part in the study also receive a Pap test and an HPV test at zero cost to the patient. Women may schedule an appointment by calling (706) 721-2535. At the completion of the exam, all women will receive a gift card.