Role of VIA in cervical cancer screening in low-resource countries

Mymensingh Med J. 2011 Jul;20(3):528-35.


Cervical cancer is one of the few highly preventable cancers. The early detection and removal of precancerous cervical lesions effectively abolish the development of invasive cervical cancer. The Pap test has been the standard screening test in the Western world for the last five decades. Visual inspection of cervix with acetic acid (VIA) is currently more popular method of cervical cancer of screening test in low resource countries. Cervical cancer incidence and mortality have been reduced dramatically as a result of successful screening in many countries. Cancer cervix can be prevented through both primary prevention using human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine and early detection using screening techniques. Several screening modalities are now available for early detection of cervical cancer and its precursor lesions. They all differ with regard to their test characteristics, feasibility and economic considerations. This review has different aspects of these screening modalities and provides different options considering mass application. In developed countries, Pap smear cytology is used for cervical cancer screening. But in low-resource country, like Bangladesh, it is too expensive and is not feasible. VIA, a non-cytological test is a simple and inexpensive test which can be provided by trained paramedical personnel with a short training. So VIA can be done in low-resource countries for screening of cervical cancer as an alternative to Pap smear cytology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid*
  • Colposcopy
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Acetic Acid