New DySIS technology at Southend Hospital helps to prevent cervical cancer
12 November 2015
Women across south east Essex are for the first time benefitting from medical technology which is preventing cervical cancer.
The technology is also helping to avoid invasive treatment which
can hamper a woman's ability to have children.
Doctors at Southend University Hospital are the first in Essex
to be using the device called DySIS - Dynamic Spectral Imaging
System - to help detect changes in the cervix and to help
guide the best course of treatment for women to prevent them
developing full blown cancer.
The equipment is also helping to ensure women avoid invasive
treatment, which can in some cases leave them with problems during
pregnancy such as increased risk of miscarriage and premature
Doctors have said the device is expected to help around 800
women a year at the hospital and has changed the philosophy of how
women are treated.
Mr Khalil Razvi, consultant gynaecological oncologist and lead
for the colposcopy service at Southend Hospital said the technology
was partly funded by local cancer charity COPES - Cervical,
Ovarian, Perineal, Endometrial Support - a local registered
charity for all gynaecological cancers in the Essex Cancer Network,
to mark its tenth birthday.
"The device helps us to detect certain pre-cancerous changes
more accurately and shows which ones we need to treat and which we
can leave. This equipment picks up changes at an earlier stage so
we can give treatment which prevents cancer developing. It is
making it easier to manage the condition for our patients," he
Around 1200 women attend the hospital each year to have a
colposcopy procedure, and of these women, Mr Razvi estimates that
50% have pre-cancerous changes. He believes a proportion of those
would go onto develop full blown cancer if they were left
As well as potentially saving lives the device has an important
role to play in managing and guiding women's treatment known as
LETTZ which burns away the cells.
"It's well known the treatment can impact on pregnancy and can
cause premature birth and miscarriage in some cases. With this
technology we can manage this better for a group of our patients
who are young women and avoid invasive treatment, said Mr
"This is helping young women who want to fulfil their wish to
have a family by preventing the need for sometimes unnecessary
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in females under 35 in
the UK and in the last decade there has been an increase in younger
women, according to Cancer Research UK. Almost 1,000 women died
from the disease in 2012 in the UK which is more than two every
Doctors are urging women to attend their cervical screening test
- known as a smear - to help prevent cervical cancer. If a woman
has a smear which requires further investigation, they are referred
to hospital for a procedure called a colposcopy - a detailed
examination of the cervix (neck of the womb).
The DySIS uses digital imaging to show doctors in real time on a
screen where pre-cancerous cells are in a woman's cervix and helps
to map and measure what level the changes are so doctors can decide
on the best level of treatment.
DySIS can detect changes on the cervix with greater sensitivity
than traditional colposcopy which means more women with abnormal
changes can be detected.
"We can reassure women with low level changes earlier on without
the need to invite them back for further investigation. Sometimes
we bring people back for further review and that can add to the
anxiety for women. But with the increased accuracy of this
technology we can confidently tell them they don't need invasive
treatment. This is very reassuring for patients."
Southend Hospital is one of several hospitals across the country
Emma Azeem, who is a Macmillan Gynaecology Oncology clinical
nurse specialist who works at Southend Hospital, speaking for COPES
said: "Our main aim is to support women and their families affected
by this sensitive group of cancers which can affect women of all
"The COPES fundraising committee works tirelessly to raise funds
to support Southend Hospital and the community to ensure high
quality equipment and the best care, through research, is provided
to all women locally."