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Vinegar could save tens of thousands of lives
A women's rally in India. A new study says vinegar could help reduce cervical cancer deaths in the country.
June 3rd, 2013
02:11 PM ET

Vinegar could save tens of thousands of lives

In some parts of the world, cancer patients are treated with some of the newest targeted cancer drugs which can cost more than$100,000 per year, while in other regions, patients don't even know they have cancer because they're not being screened.

But where pap smears are not available, there may be a decidedly low-tech way to screen for cervical cancer and reduce cancer deaths, according to a large clinical trial released Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago: swabbing a woman's cervix with vinegar.

This study out of India is one of the top five out of more than 5,300 studies presented at the conference. It was given a spotlight usually reserved for the newest blockbuster drug research.

Worldwide, there are 500,000 cases of cervical cancer and 250,000 women die from it each year, according to the World Health Organization.

"Unfortunately we have no cervical cancer screening program in India," where it's the number-one cancer killer among women, says lead study author Dr. Surendra Srinivas Shastri, "mainly because pap smear screening is not feasible." Shastri attributes this to a lack of resources, laboratory infrastructure and trained medical staff.

To screen for cervical cancer using a Pap test, a doctor or a nurse gently scrapes cells from the cervix, then puts them on a slide and stains them with a special dye. Then a trained professional like a pathologist or lab technician analyzes the slide under a microscope looking for abnormal cells.  There aren't enough of these resources in India to screen the majority of women.

As a result, Shastri says, the cervical cancer incidence and mortality in India alone contributes to 30% of the global burden of this disease.

So he and his colleagues designed a trial to determine if using a simple visual test, which doesn't require a laboratory, can be an effective screening tool.  They borrowed a tried-and-true method called visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), where the cervix is swabbed with a 4% vinegar solution.   This is something doctors in poor and rich countries do as part of a procedure called a colposcopy.

Gynecologists in the United States use this type of test for visualization in a colposcopy, says Dr. Carol Aghajanian, a gynecological expert from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and ASCO spokeswoman. "What's new here is that it's being used as a screening tool."

Local women were trained for four weeks on how to administer the test, since doctors and nurses are in short supply in many areas of India.

Within just one minute, the person administering the test - using the naked eye and a light - can see if there are abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix; abnormal cells turn white, because the acid in the vinegar makes protein in the nucleus of the abnormal cells coagulate and become easily visible.

The fact that results are available immediately is very important, since many women in rural India often have to travel to get some kind of medical care.  If abnormal cells are seen, a small tissue sample is taken and biopsied. If cancer is detected, women can get the cancer care they need for free if necessary through India's  health care system.

This study began in 1998 and was conducted in rural areas which Shastri describes as "naive of cancer, let alone cervical screening."

About 75,000 women were offered education and screened every 2 years; in the control group, about 76,000 women were educated about cervical cancer symptoms and not screened - the current standard of care in India.

The results were striking. Almost 90% of the women participated in the trial (in the United States, overall adult participation in clinical trials is 3%). Shastri says they found a 31% reduction in cancer deaths by using this vinegar test, suggesting that if implemented nationwide, it could prevent more than 22,000 cervical cancer deaths each year. This type of screening program could also be implemented in other developing countries and, Shastri says, possibly reduce the overall number of cervical cancer deaths each year by an estimated 72,000.

The researchers also found that there was no over-diagnosis, which is a huge problem in screening in general, says Shastri.

The study results are a "really big deal," because something so low-tech can help so many, says Dr. Bruce Roth, a cancer expert from Washington University in St. Louis and ASCO spokesman. "You can buy a lot of vinegar for $100,000, " says Roth.

The fact that local women who received training administered the test is also "a big public health benefit," says ACSO president Dr. Sandra Swain.

The study was funded by National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.


soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. AZLegal Assistant

    Yep! About 10 years ago, I had a Pap done that came back with abnormal cells. When I went for a follow-up/another test and to burn the cells off (turned out to be HPV of course) the doc used vinegar to "brighten" the abnormal cells so we could see exactly where they were so he could burn them off. They turned white against the pinkness of the cervix. I can't believe that this isn't common practice and/or used in a more regular way for testing. Its virtually painless and cheaper than some lab tests.

    June 3, 2013 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • paul

      How is vinegar saving lives. The article states the screening process isnt feasible, so if a simple cancer screening process is not financially feasible, now they find the cancer but the patient now is unable to afford the treatment.

      June 4, 2013 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • ahayesCNN

      Hi Paul, good question. The article says that the normal pap smear screening process isn't feasible in India - that's what they meant, not the vinegar method. Hope that helps and thanks. Ashley Hayes, CNN

      June 4, 2013 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • evoc

      The article states women may receive the follow up care free, if necessary.

      June 4, 2013 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • Jez

      Its not used in the US because it is too inexpensive and the drug companies, hospitals and insurance companies wouldn't make any money. In the US, just follow the dollar to get your answers.

      June 4, 2013 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      The reason that this method is not used for screening in the US is because it not sensitive enough to detect microscopic abnormal cells. This method only detects large patches of abnormal cells. In developed countries that is usually not the case.

      This story is wrong in that a PAP smear does NOT require "growing cells in a lab."

      All that is required is that cells are scraped off the surface of the cerivix, smeared on a slide and stained. It is about the most simple procedure that is done in a lab. Then a cytolologist (NOT a pathologist) looks at the stained slide and looks for abnormal cells. If the cytologist does see abnormal cells, THEN a pathologist confirms it.

      The vinegar method is OK but not very sensitive – that is, it only will show very large groups of abnormal cells. This might be fine for a population that has no medical care so may have long term abnormal cell growth, but it will not pick up small groups or individual abnormal cells because those are microscopic and cannot be seen by eye. So, it will work for chronic abnormal growth, but not for early abnormal cells.

      June 4, 2013 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      Grumpster: Why be insulting?

      June 4, 2013 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Doctor JEM

      Cells from a pap smear are not grown in a lab. they are directly placed on a microscopic slide and stained (with papincolou stain) for viewing.This article is inaccurate and should be revised.

      June 4, 2013 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • vr13

      Paul, it is the screening that is not feasible. The treatment IS feasible and apparently it is free in India. This is not contradictory. You need to screen millions of women in India a horrendous task. But only a certain percentage turns positives and those are the only one whom you need to treat, much smaller and more manageable task.

      June 4, 2013 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • helicohunter

      Yeah, using vinegar to improve detection of abnormal tissue has been around for a long time. I don't know why it is suddenly news.

      June 4, 2013 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Joe Seattle

      Paul -

      That's where whiners like you come in. You can pay for their treatment. Oh wait, you meant I should pay for it. Your part is just doing the whining. Thanks for that, I guess.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • znhcats

      I predict vinegar's price will be soaring.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
    • paul

      I don't think you all understand. If the screening process isn't feasible, how are these patients that test positive for cancer able to recieve care. I understand the vinegar method is reasonable, but the treatment still costs money...so if they were unable to afford the screening prior to the vinegar test..they are still not going to be able to afford the care. Big deal...they can tell you you have cancer, but too bad, sorry you won't be able to afford the treatment. And grumpster i am far from ignorant, but it goes without saying what you are.

      June 4, 2013 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • paul

      Fyi joe in seattle, i am not whining..LOL...your perception senses are unmatched. How is what i am saying considered whining...guess the jerk in you comes out behind a keyboard. If you want to hear whining..this is whining...i have stage 4 lung cancer and i am 47, i received this disease from serving this country in the US NAVY..i am unable to continue my treatments anymore because of the cost. I am at over $25000 in health care expenses and can no longer afford my deductible for health insurance while this country tosses money around overseas and to programs in this country that make no sense. thats whining you jerk, understand the difference.

      June 4, 2013 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      Geez Paul, it says the USUAL screening method of PAP SMEARS is not feasible, due to lack of clinics, nurses, doctors, labs, time and distance the women have to travel for the test and then back to get results after. The vinegar test IS feasible because every day women can be trained to do it, vinegar is inexpensive, and results are available immediately.

      June 4, 2013 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      Paul read the article again. It says that treatment is available through the health care system. And while it's not the ideal testing method, it's better than nothing.

      June 4, 2013 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • 123elle

      Grumpster: Even "SOME" treatment is quite sophisticated and requires medical skill. A colposcopy is a complex procedure with follow-up needed and even cryosurgery demands the proper instrumentation and again, a trained technician or doctor. Paul asks a very good question: what good is knowing you have it if you can't afford or travel to the treatment? They have half the problem somewhat solved. They have to close the circle by offering immediate care.

      June 4, 2013 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • Patrish

      Yes, my gynecologist had me used the same method between my regular visits after I had cancer. Amazing vinegar, it goes well on food and even works to help relieve sunburn pain.

      June 4, 2013 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
    • lui xi ung

      you are still at a high risk for cervical cancer,have you been taking it up Uranus by ant chance than you are liable to analcancer

      June 4, 2013 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
    • Randy3000

      Paul, I'll type slowly so you'll understand this, India has socialized medicine. The actual treatment is FREE. Screening 1/2 a billion women is beyond their resources, treatment of thousands isn't.

      June 4, 2013 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Paul if you read the article it says there is free healthcare for those that cant afford it in India. The problem is not getting the treatment the problem is awareness and diagnosis.

      June 5, 2013 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    Great now vinegar will cost us a 100.00 us hospitals charge way to much for everything.

    June 3, 2013 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniela

      Bob, sorry if the price of vinegar is what is keeping you up at night. Don't worry about the lives that are being lost that vinegar could save (someone's mother, daughter, sister, friend)...as long as we can keep vinegar a reasonable price for you to buy for whatever reason you do, that is what is important.

      June 4, 2013 at 07:32 | Report abuse |
    • Pablo

      I'm sure doctors and hospitals do not like to see cheaper alternatives like this to be utilized. It will cut into the profits made by their more expensive procedures.

      June 4, 2013 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      What, you worried about the price of pickles on your hamburger?

      June 4, 2013 at 08:18 | Report abuse |
    • Plain Jane

      @Daniela I would expect most morons like you would miss the point. Once vinegar reaches ridiculously inflated prices, the average person won't be able to afford it to save their life, just like the cost of most life saving procedures.

      June 4, 2013 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
    • PaganScorp

      @Daniela

      Seriously, you don't get the sarcasm and unfortunate truth that Bob is talking about? Once they find out that something natural has amazing abilities they will either ban it and throw you in prison for using it (cannabis) or drive the cost through the roof to get access to it.

      June 4, 2013 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • Caroline

      Lol Bob!

      June 4, 2013 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      To think that some of you actually took Bob's comment as being serious is in itself a serious blow to the common sense of most Americans. And to those of you that still believe drug companies run the show - who will you be begging for help when one of your kids is sick and there is a treatment available?

      June 4, 2013 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • Grumpster

      Nice try, Mark, but you can go back to work now at Glaxyl. We know you're a schill.

      June 4, 2013 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      The reason that this method is not used for screening in the US is because it not sensitive enough to detect microscopic abnormal cells. This method only detects large patches of abnormal cells. In developed countries that is usually not the case.

      And BTW, a PAP smear in the US costs about $20.00. About the most cost effective anti-cancer preventative you can buy. No side effect either!

      This story is wrong in that a PAP smear does NOT require "growing cells in a lab."

      All that is required is that cells are scraped off the surface of the cerivix, smeared on a slide and stained. It is about the most simple procedure that is done in a lab. Then a cytolologist (NOT a pathologist) looks at the stained slide and looks for abnormal cells. If the cytologist does see abnormal cells, THEN a pathologist confirms it.

      The vinegar method is OK but not very sensitive – that is, it only will show very large groups of abnormal cells. This might be fine for a population that has no medical care so may have long term abnormal cell growth, but it will not pick up small groups or individual abnormal cells because those are microscopic and cannot be seen by eye. So, it will work for chronic abnormal growth, but not for early abnormal cells.

      June 4, 2013 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • FoolKiller

      Bob, since no one else seems capable of realizing you were making a joke AND taking a well deserved swipe at hospitals, I felt obligated to let you know that at least one person got it. As a matter of fact, those that didn’t kinda worry me…

      June 4, 2013 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • Just a drop

      Not to worry Bob. As the article described it just a drop or two on a cotton swab, you and it is only 4% concentration so a gallon is mostly water and they get many swabs per gallon SPG.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
  3. Melba

    If they have such a shortage of doctors, why are there so many Indian doctors here in the U.S.? Quit giving them visas!

    June 3, 2013 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Buck

      Wow that's wildly racist. Hey, my heart doctor is from India and he correctly identified and fixed a problem that others didn't have a clue about. It's not about race, it's about culture. I've learned through the years that other cultures value education a lot more than we do in America so you see other cultures succeeding in fields that require a lot of education. If American students wised up and majored in the sciences and got advanced degrees then maybe we could fix our own problems at home but instead we need those people who are not American to keep the American Dream alive because people like you that are clearly ignorant and racist really don't have a clue of what it means to truly be an American.

      June 3, 2013 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • bs1

      They are in the US since they can make good money and have a higher standard of living here. Obummercare may change that however, my excellent (Indian) allergist has commented that he may well move back to India (where he hasn't lived in decades) or perhaps another country if Obummercare goes the way it looks like it's going.

      June 3, 2013 at 22:33 | Report abuse |
    • Pitdownman

      The real question is why are we not producing enough of are own. Answer; we don't invest in our own people.

      June 3, 2013 at 23:17 | Report abuse |
    • rockstar

      @pitdownman you are wrong. The reason the US doesnt produce enough is because getting a college education is too expensive.

      June 4, 2013 at 00:25 | Report abuse |
    • Shas

      May be you should go back to the place your ancestors came from, if you have a problem with the people living in the free world......

      June 4, 2013 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      And I suppose you're Native American and don't have a foreign land to get sent back to?

      June 4, 2013 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
    • sumday

      wow you must be some kind of special ignorant person. We give so many foreign visa out bc we in the USA want the best and brightest- especially doctors. If more citizens stopped watching reality tv and focused more on academics we wouldn't have to go out of country to recruit better students. Save you ranting and focus on yourself and your kids. If you or your kids are watching 1 hour or more of tv a day instead of furthering your education then YOU and YOUR KIDS are the very reason we are giving so many visa's to foreign students. Instead of pointing fingers try looking in the mirror for a change.

      June 4, 2013 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
    • Tg

      You are full of nonsense and you need to get your brain examined. They need doctors in the US as much as in India. If you read the article, it says not enough screening and nothing about doctors. So you should go back to learn how to read and comprehend what the article is about.

      June 4, 2013 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • bobo

      Exactly! Say in your own country and help YOUR People!

      June 4, 2013 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Pitdownman
      "The real question is why are we not producing enough of are own. Answer; we don't invest in our own people."

      Nope! The real answer is that Indians have better work ethic. If parents would raise children correctly in this country, there would be more doctors.

      June 4, 2013 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
    • Grumpster

      bs1....appropriate name...BS.....I would be you are a crusty old white Christian who is a faithful Faux News fan and has never even looked at a page of news on the health care law that didn't come from some nut page like Fox or Hannity or Beck or Limbacile.

      June 4, 2013 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • vr13

      Sumday, we give visas not only because we want brightest but because we can get them cheaper from abroad. And the argument that the original commenter did isn't necessarily wrong or racist. This outsourcing, globalization and H1B visas trend indeed has become controversial. While someone uses arguments that this is what gives us good value, it definitely has negative effects on our own professionals and on the foreign market. The often missed aspect is that occasionally we do drain resources from developing countries that might have shortage on their own. With our capital fist, we just outprice the local market and take away their professionals. In this case, we outpricing the Indian patients by using US dollars, while at the same time forcing US professionals lower their salary to match cost on Indian markets. It's often overlooked aspect so it might sound surprising for many, but it doesn't make comment racial.

      June 4, 2013 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Towns are required to move funding for gifted and talented programs to special education. Our young students are being dumbed down, so everyone will graduate. I've seen it first hand with my own children, and there's only so much I can do as a full time working parent.

      June 4, 2013 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
    • neurosugeon

      I am a neurosurgeon from India and operate on American brains with gun shots wounds and Alzheimer's. Read about how USMLE works. You don't let a neurosurgeon to lead a dept of neurosurgery unless there is merit. Practically no one competed with me cos' not many want to spend 30 hrs in a operating room away from family. You need a passion to do science and engineering. If USA attracts the best docs in the world then you got to be proud of your country's ability to attract. The solution is not to send them back. Perhaps if only there weren't so many guns out there and not many obese patients then perhaps you don't need docs in the first place. Blame the junk food that is being eaten and the psychological issues that youngsters combined with poor gun control before you send those docs that are here to help.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
    • Squeezebox

      I agree, those docs should go back and practice in their home countries, making them better places. That's why we allow them to attend our medical schools in the first place. But no, they stay in America because the money's better here. And they make it harder for Americans to get into medical schools. And in the meantime people are dying in their home countries because the doctors refuse to practice there for the money the nation can afford to pay them.

      June 4, 2013 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
    • Helmut S

      Looks like an ideal outsourcing opportunity for India!

      June 5, 2013 at 00:11 | Report abuse |
    • bs1

      Grumpster – You are what's wrong with this country. I present exactly what my Indian allergist said, and you, lacking the intellectual capacity to make any rational argument, resort to childish name calling. My Indian allergist has a stack of anti-Oabamacare bumper stickers at his reception desk too. I know a number of other medical professionals and not a single one of them supports Obamacare. As for me, I'm a lifeling devout athiest and I get my news from CNN, BBC, NPR and others and I personally investigate and validate what is reported, unlike people like you who take media talking points on blind faith.

      June 5, 2013 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
  4. Miri

    To melba .....Foreign born doctors are required higher USMLE scores than american ones....so everything being equal...u r getting a better dr already. Are u happy with the way US doctors dont examine You dont touch You stay less than 10 min in the room And leave without telling u what u have....????

    June 3, 2013 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. martin2176

    My US ortho doctor did not detect my back pain root cause. He checked all my diagnostics and literally told me " i dont know what is wrong with you..next time you have back pain episode come i will give you pain killer". Finally my Indian doctor found the root cause and i am not pain free for last 2 yrs

    June 3, 2013 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bobo

      So....... What was it?

      June 4, 2013 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  6. clubschadenfreude

    it's sad that so much of the world is still in essentially the stone age. And naturopathic nonsense is useless. If it worked, it would be called "medicine". Please spare me the conspiracy theories unless you can prove such things.

    as for foreign born doctors, I'm happy to have them. If their country wants to remain in the dark ages, then let them. Same with idiotic Americans who want to believe in prayer healing anything. You are all most welcome to die of diarrhea or some other illness that is curable by modern medicine.

    June 3, 2013 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bobo

      That is there problem that they are in the Stone Age.... We can't afford to help everybody. People, and countries advance at there own pace...

      June 4, 2013 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • clubschadenfreude

      aka, it's not our problem.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Paulwisc

      You do realize, bobo, that there are US doctors in India, too.

      June 4, 2013 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • clubschadenfreude

      why yes I do. and people are still ignorant.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
  7. simple doc

    Cells are NOT grown in a lab for a pap smear. They are stained and examined under a microscope.

    June 3, 2013 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. bankrupt1

    they have a vaccine for that now. i would highly recommend getting it. the alternative is horrible.

    June 3, 2013 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rembrant

    We could never accept this practice in The United States for several reasons:
    1) It makes sense
    2) Vinegar doesn't make money
    3) It is not "high tech" enough,
    4) we'd rather spend the $10000 and complain about the cost of healthcare
    5) Vinegar doesn't make money
    6) It makes sense

    June 3, 2013 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • unowhoitsme

      You are so right, Rembrant. Vinegar doesn't make money. Medicine is now big business, instead of a profession that truly wants the best for humanity; no different than education now for kids.

      Years ago, I was very ill. It seemed that i just couldn't get well. i went to so many doctors, specialists, hospitals but not one doctor could diagnose my illness, leaving me with huge doctor bills. So I decided to try Mother Nature's remedies and I was cured. I never put much interest into before, thinking that they were all phony cures. But the body has its own way of healing itself given the right ingredients. We ARE what we eat, and Americans are currently consuming over 1 gallon of poisons per year (preservatives, dyes, additives, refined foods, sugar, etc) that are very poisonous to the body and then we wonder WHY we have cancer, diabetes, heart conditions? People are like sheep, I too was one of them, and believed what I was told by doctors. But doctors didn't design the human body and Mother Nature left rememdies for the body to heal itself, so I studied it for years and found that there's a cure for every ailment. The reason that it's not advertised is because it makes no money. The AMA wants patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes because it's all lucrative. I used to believe that doctors always had my best interest at hand. Sorry, but they don't. They are money driven, which is why almost all of them become doctors. I haven't seen a doctor in 17 years, and my husband hasn't seen one in 44 years. We trust Mother Nature and it's paid off for us. Doctors are excellent for emergency medicine, but not for cure and prevention. There's too much money involved to cure anyone. It's better for them that we stay sick and die. I witnessed this first hand when my parents had cancer. I just wish I had know then what I know now. They'd still be alive today.

      June 4, 2013 at 07:23 | Report abuse |
    • movingdrama

      You're wrong. Vinegar is currently used for this screening process. The article states that both poor and wealthy countries use this method.

      June 4, 2013 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      The article explicitly states that it IS used here though...

      June 4, 2013 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
  10. Sparrow

    Smart thinking!

    India is not a particularly good place to live if you are female. I'm very thankful for the Indian doctors and nurses who are my coworkers; they are generally easy to work with, rarely complain, and often don't have a lot of ego invested in the job.

    June 3, 2013 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Soderstrom

      And this relates to the topic how?

      June 4, 2013 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  11. Canadian

    The experiment would be more trustworthy if they provided the number of women who were diagnosed with cancer through this method rather than just stating that the number of cancer deaths went down. Correlation is not causation.

    June 4, 2013 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caity

      PREACH! This comment pleases me greatly

      June 4, 2013 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
  12. bobbaft

    This whole topic gives me a bitter taste....

    June 4, 2013 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. AphaMaryYankee

    A wonderful tool to help many women. These easy and inexpensive tests will save lives and there will be children whose moms are around to raise and love them. Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die. So much pain and fear. Kudos to these caring physicians for doing what they do best...saving lives.

    June 4, 2013 at 01:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jerry

    Why do I think Massengill's gonna find a way to make money off of this?

    June 4, 2013 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. floyd schrodinger

    If the cancer was found in men, there'd be work on a cure but it's only in women. Who cares.

    June 4, 2013 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aRT

      I care. All of my women are very special.

      June 4, 2013 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • Dr. BC

      There are more men working on breast cancer research than women.

      June 4, 2013 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • Just saying

      Men get breast cancer also. Never heard of a man getting cervical cancer.

      June 4, 2013 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  16. Larry

    Why use something cheap when you can gouge the public with the most expensive tests around?...collusion between the medical establishment and the insurance companies must stop...Why aren't people marching in the streets over the outrageous fees? It's robbery.

    June 4, 2013 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lindsey

    Well, here's something to think about. Most cervical cancer cases is caused by the HPV virus. HPV is spread sexually. Cervical cancer for the most part is a sexually transmitted disease. Women are still seen as third-class citizens in much of the world including India and no one thinks twice or cares if a man strays from his marriage. In a lot of cultures it's expected. Then these men bring disease home to their wives. Same goes for HIV in Africa. Yes, it is a good thing to provide the women of India with proper care – whether it be with vinegar or something else. But, the other half is education. Unfortunately, though, until women are seen as equals no one will truly care and the problem will remain.

    June 4, 2013 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. sumday

    rockstar you are wrong. There are grants, GI bills, student loans, ect. The cost is actually more expensive for foreigners than for citizens so how is it they can afford it, but "you" can't? I put myself through college without help from anyone else, so you reply just make you seem lazy to me. We don't produce enough for the simple fact that citizens are generally lazy and more concerned about partying and entertainment than studying and getting the best grades they can. I was in college for 5yrs and I saw a lot of USA kids and a lot of foreign kids and the majority was that foreign kids studied hard, appreciated the opportunity to study, and worked their butts off, while citizens were only concerned with a grade just high enough to pass and what fraternity they were going to join. There is a vast difference bt a foreign student and a citizen student that cost has nothing to do with. My roommate for 5 yrs was from India, he spent 6-8 hours a night studying his course work it was not that he was smarter than I was it was he was more dedicated than I was- and I witnessed this over and over with citizens compared to foreign students. Stop making excuses for yourself.

    June 4, 2013 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Margie Mc

    Good for them! It's nice to hear such good news from that part of Asia! I hope other poorer health systems can duplicate this success.

    June 4, 2013 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Yes1fan

    I wonder if black light would show the same thing?
    I wonder if pure vinegar or some % of peroxide water would kill the cancer?

    June 4, 2013 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. palintwit

    Female tea party patriots use Everclear instead of vinegar. It comes in mason jars and is readily available south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    June 4, 2013 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Kevin Lawton

    What did the water truck call the vinegar truck.....DOOOOooouuuuuccccchhhhheeeeeee.

    June 4, 2013 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Darlene Buckingham

    And why don't they do this vinegar test in wealthy countries – OH I forgot because we have money to burn.

    June 4, 2013 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Rockbottom

      The reason that this method is not used for screening in the US is because it not sensitive enough to detect microscopic abnormal cells. This method only detects large patches of abnormal cells. In developed countries that is usually not the case.

      And BTW, a PAP smear in the US costs about $20.00. About the most cost effective anti-cancer preventative you can buy. No side effect either!

      This story is wrong in that a PAP smear does NOT require "growing cells in a lab."

      All that is required is that cells are scraped off the surface of the cerivix, smeared on a slide and stained. It is about the most simple procedure that is done in a lab. Then a cytolologist (NOT a pathologist) looks at the stained slide and looks for abnormal cells. If the cytologist does see abnormal cells, THEN a pathologist confirms it.

      The vinegar method is OK but not very sensitive – that is, it only will show very large groups of abnormal cells. This might be fine for a population that has no medical care so may have long term abnormal cell growth, but it will not pick up small groups or individual abnormal cells because those are microscopic and cannot be seen by eye. So, it will work for chronic abnormal growth, but not for early abnormal cells.

      June 4, 2013 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  24. Brad

    Will you find a way to test men for HPV already?!?! Some of us guys don't want to risk women's lives to cervical cancer from having sex! (and before you comment about safe sex, keep in mind that HPV primarily exists outside of where a condom protects)

    June 4, 2013 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jeff

    Pap smears do not require growing cells in culture or any similar thing – where on earth did the author get that idea from? You simply brush the cervix to obtain cells, smear the cells on a glass microscope slide, and stain them. (Of course, in places like the US there are more advanced ways to prepare the slides, but they aren't necessary, and they never involve culturing). I would have expected more from CNN.

    June 4, 2013 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Nathan

    Amazing! Humans have a remarkable ability to make use of what we have. Seeing as how North American has billions of dollars to burn we are clearly making more use of that than simpler and cheaper medicines.

    June 4, 2013 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DebbieDoesAPapSure

    Its called a PapSure and my doctor charges me $45 that the insurance warrented isn't worth the cost. (Apparently they like to pay to treat, not detect and prevent) It detected my abnormal cells immediately, 7 years ago, that led to an outpatient surgery to remove them. It can instantly show if something is wrong rather than years of delay from tradtional tests. Every woman should be getting these.

    June 4, 2013 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Margery

    This statement is not true: "A pap smear requires growing the cells from a sample and having a pathologist analyze them." Actually, the cells swabbed from a woman's cervix is typically placed on a glass slide and fixated and then stained and then a cytotechnologist and/or pathologist reads the slide. Alternatively, the cells swabbed are placed in a vial of fixative and at a lab they are spun down and placed on a slide for reading. There is no "growing" of the cells!

    June 4, 2013 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Angie W

    Pap smear testing DOES NOT require growing cells in the lab! That is completely untrue.

    June 4, 2013 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jake Wheeler

    Should make them smell better at least.

    June 4, 2013 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JonathanL

    Here in the USA where Health Insurance is becoming unaffordable, we could use all the home made alternatives we can get. For example I pay 22,000 a year before I have cleared my premiums and deductible and the insurance company actually start covering anything. I think it is worth just putting that into an account and letting it build up. That would be insurance against almost anything as long as I don't get hit right away. But recently I had pin worms and I went to doctor and the clerk told me if I wanted anything in the next 2 weeks I needed to go to the walkin clinic. I went there and saw me and then told me I had to go to the doctor for this (got billed $197). Then I went to the doctor (3 weeks out) (another $197)..more wait... then..the doctor seemed to doubt my story but then she told me I needed to go to a specialist... 2 weeks out ... another wait.... I went to the specialist ($102) and he told me I needed to bring in 3 samples....and take them to the clinic drop off...(each was $93) and another extra test was ($70). Meanwhile, having a sense of urgency that the doctors didn't seem to have, and having identified pinworms myself on the internet I also found out on the internet that Dr. Reese's Pinworm medicine works and it only costs $15 over the counter. By the time I gave my samples (just in case and following through) they (the pinworms) were gone. But all the appts and waiting cost me about $550 after insurance and consider it is not difficult to identify them if you know how and the medicine is OTC! What a racket the health care system is! I am getting fed up with it! Based on simple research at the library and internet I often know more than the specialist when I see him or her. Unless I need some major emergency medical attention I plan to avoid the nuisance of the medical maze whereever I can. America now has by far the most expensive lousy medical care in the world and I think it is because doctors have learned how to less for more and milk the insurance companies like there is no tomorrow. .

    June 4, 2013 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. MikeR

    Too bad they haven't heard of condoms in India. There should be an article "Latex Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives"

    June 4, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jan

    This is the kind of medical research that we should make our system have incentives to conduct. Instead, our system's incentives send research talent and money into quests that have potential for drug patents with lots of people taking the drugs forever, often at the expense of greater health rather than furthering health.

    June 4, 2013 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. WillC

    Great article about new economical ways to screen for cervical cancer. I wonder how accurate or predictive this screen is relative to the pap smear. That seems to be an issue many people in this forum are concerned with but is not addressed in the article. Also, here's hoping India and developing nations get access to the HPV vaccine. Preventing cancer sure beats screening for it.

    June 4, 2013 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. kevin

    I read quickly, but is this article by Dr. Gupta? If so, the most facinating thing is that he wrote multiple times that Paps requiring growing cells in a lab. This is not true as other have pointed out.
    1. How could a medical professional of his fame not know this?
    2. Let say he is just a little rusty. If so, did he not even slightly look into his subject before writing the article. In addition, his "writing tricks" make it seemthis info is coming fromt he researchers. I find this very hard to believe. If I were the researchers, I would be angry at this article because it make them look ridiculous in front of there collegaues. I would make him corect.

    I find it very interesting that someone of his fame could get away with writing something like and still have shred of crediblity. It is a big difference.

    June 4, 2013 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. ajk68

    Where are all the billionaire donors on this one?
    They always seem happy to curtail births in foreign countries with contraception and abortion.

    June 4, 2013 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Katie

    Vinegar is so good for so many things. Sprayed directly on weeds, it kills them with no poisoning of the environment. It's a quick, cheap, household disinfectant. Add it to your wash and it deep cleans towels, kills bacteria, and disinfects your washer. Pour baking soda down the drain and add a good cup of vinegar and it removes grease and small clogs. Straight vinegar sprayed onto wallpaper dissolves the paste binding it to the wall, and on a sponge will wash that leftover residue from the newly uncovered plaster walls. I'm glad they've found a great use for it in India. Medical procedures shouldn't have to be so costly.

    June 4, 2013 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vic Torino

      and it is tasty too!

      June 4, 2013 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
  38. Bob

    Last few years my colds would last four to five weeks. About Jan. 2012 I started taking Apple cider vinegar for high blood pressure, caught a cold in April of 2012 and noticed that Vinegar worked great for cold symptoms. Took vinegar every time I had symptoms and I was over it in three days. It was the easiest cold I ever had. I sell at antique shows and last flu season I was very exposed to the viruses and did not get it. Also about 10 years ago I had a nasty pneumonia and my lungs never cleared but after taking vinegar my lungs cleared and can go and jog for miles before running out of breath. I do use it every day . Organic apple cider vinegar is the way to go. Cheap and it works. My blood pressure did improve but mostly from better diet including vinegar and exercise.

    June 4, 2013 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. reasonablebe

    real question: why isn't this being used in all countries- including us? wouldn't this cut the cost of annuals drastically? or do the pharmaceutical cos.have a stake, preventing this low cost effective, non-painful, non invasive screening?

    June 4, 2013 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. 111Dave111

    ahayesCNN Ashley Hayes, CNN & CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta MD & Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen:

    *** Please revise article if Doctor JEM & Joe Rockbottom are correct. ***

    Joe Rockbottom: The reason that this method is not used for screening in the US is because it not sensitive enough to detect microscopic abnormal cells. This method only detects large patches of abnormal cells. In developed countries that is usually not the case. This story is wrong in that a PAP smear does NOT require "growing cells in a lab."

    Doctor JEM: Cells from a pap smear are not grown in a lab. they are directly placed on a microscopic slide and stained (with papincolou stain) for viewing.This article is inaccurate and should be revised.

    June 4, 2013 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ahayesCNN

      Thanks for your comments. They were all very much appreciated and the article has been revised. Ashley Hayes, CNN

      June 4, 2013 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
  41. nk

    This also works on other parts of the body. I have done it myself.

    June 4, 2013 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Paul

    This is great for a quick look, but it won't find any abnormal cells that are growing in the transformation zone which can be higher up in the endocervical canal. As a woman gets older, the T-zone moves up where a brush is necessary for a proper sample.

    June 4, 2013 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. viva the old civilization

    the vinger was used by the egyption thousends of years ago for such test and also they use the urine to check for fertility by puting on specific plants.......

    June 4, 2013 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. cebundy

    Brilliant!!! This is wonderful news! I wonder what the rate of effectiveness is? Regardless, it's great that it is helping.

    June 4, 2013 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Fleurdelys

    Absolutely great news and Bravo to Inida!

    June 4, 2013 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Steve

    my son is in a guranteed MD program in Texas, and what I hear is college is expensive. And it is free for my son, both for pre-med and his medical school ( he got AES = Academic Excellence Scholarship) money to support his education. what he did in high school was worked from 8PM thry 2AM everyday, he went to school 45 minutes before school and came home after 1 hour after school. Blaming the system is wrong, working hard and being deligent with your grades is a priority, which is already lost in majority of the homes in America. And Obamacare is going to destroy this system, regulation is going to put brakes on the innovation of medical science. We have cancer cure in the US, others do not have it, why ? becos America knows how to run a business, how to keep talents on-shore, how to pay them, how to innovate, how to market, how to make it cheaper. Go to any other nation and tell me if they have it. they serve millions, but no innovation, no chemo pills, no drugs to slow down alzihmier, no blood thinners.

    June 4, 2013 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Fiona

    "If cancer is detected, women can get the cancer care they need for free if necessary through India's health care system."

    Everything I have read and heard - and everthing I know - about India contradicts that statement. Yes, the poor can go to a hospital, but the system is so corrupt that they are required to purchase their own medications, and their own food, and pay doctors for treatments or procedures that should be done for no charge. Hospital supplies are sold off, staff do not show up for work. Anyone with money goes to a private hospital and sees private physicians.

    June 5, 2013 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. frances friedman

    The colposcopy I had done here at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC included a biopsy. That is routinely, if not always, done and the writer should have said so – because the biopsy following the vinegar highlight was the most painful experience I'd ever had in my over 50 years and and caused me to do something I'd never done – scream out loud. The doctor didn't know what to do about the pain and tried spraying something on the vulva area which then burned like hell and didn't stop for over an hour. When people write articles like this, they are cheating their reading public when they don't fact-check and research beyond the "Google-type" presentation.

    June 27, 2013 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.