A new test – plasma thermogram – that uses heat to examine blood can be used to detect cervical cancer, according to US scientists.
The plasma thermogram examines the proteins inside blood, including those produced by tumors.
The new study, published in the journal Plos One, showed the test could detect cervical cancer and how advanced it was.
Screening for cervical cancer currently involves a looking for abnormal cells in a smear test and detecting high-risk viruses that can cause the disease.
The study, at the University of Louisville, used the plasma thermogram technology to analyze blood samples.
The sample will respond differently to heat depending on the types of proteins contained in the blood. It results in a thermogram – like a fingerprint – of the protein content.
The system was tested on 67 women with different stages of the cervical cancer to see if it could detect the differences between the patients and healthy people.
Lead researcher Dr. Nichola Garbett said: “We have been able to demonstrate a more convenient, less intrusive test for detecting and staging cervical cancer.”
She said the test could be used to determine which cancers needed to be treated and which needed monitoring.
“Comparing blood samples of patients who are being screened or treated against those thermograms should enable us to better monitor patients as they are undergoing treatment and follow-up,” she added.
“This will be a chance for us to adjust treatments so they are more effective.”