Health Update: Cervical scanner may replace smears

A DEVICE that can instantly identify malignant and pre-malignant cells in the cervix may make cervical smears a thing of the past. The pen-sized 'Polarprobe', developed by Australian researchers, takes a minute to scan the cervix, is completely painless and gives immediate results on a computer screen. The probe beams light and an electrical charges at cervical cells and measures the reflections.

The device, detailed in General Practitioner, will be tested at the Whittington Hospital, London, this month, and could become commercially available for GPs within two years.