This week, the WHO officially published new global guidelines on the use of thermal ablation to treat cervical abnormalities among women screened for cervical cancer. Thermal ablation has been shown to be effective, and in many cases, simpler to implement than traditional cryotherapy interventions. Historically known as “cold coagulation,” this method uses a heated metal probe to destroy abnormal cervical tissue that, if left untreated, may lead to invasive cancer. Interest in the thermal ablation method has resurged following the difficulty in being able to scale cryotherapy treatment in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
In the past few years, new portable, battery-operated ablation devices have been introduced as an alternative to cryotherapy. These devices, which have been developed specifically for LMIC settings, are lightweight and do not require electricity or gas for use.
WHO’s global guidance is a watershed moment because these guidelines are the critical step needed to incorporate this technology to make it easier to treat women for pre-cancer or early cancers. This global guidance will allow cervical cancer programs around the world to take a huge step forward to treat women in a more timely and efficient manner.
Banner image credit: (c) PSI/Gurmeet Sapal