Machine aims to curb cervical cancer‎

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by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on July 19, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

A couple smooches, toss in playtime, and little Gabriel is in heaven. But for mom Gail Soares, that happiness was marred by some life-threatening news.

"And all of a sudden that crashes when you go to your first doctor's appointment, and they tell you you have abnormal cells," said Gail.

Gail had cervical cancer. More than 11,000 women were diagnosed last year, more than 4,000 died.

But doctors say the LightTouch machine could curb those numbers. It detects possible cancer cells by analyzing light reflected from the cervix. Pap smear tests can take two to three weeks in a lab, the LightTouch takes about one minute.

"Once we screen the patient, we can see the same image here as on the monitor," said Dr. Nahida Chakhtoura, Assistant Professor of OB/GYN at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

To save her life, Gail gave birth to Gabriel early, then had a hysterectomy.

"You know, if I never found out I was pregnant, then I would've never found out I had the cancer, and he wouldn't be here right now," she said.

She's now in remission.

Studies show the LightTouch device is more accurate that the traditional pap test and could also eliminate the need for biopsies.

The LightTouch machine has just completed the final phase of clinical trials.

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