CHICAGO, June 2 (UPI) -- Researchers who completed a 15-year randomized study of 150,000 women in India reported that vinegar screenings may reduce cervical cancer deaths.
MedPageToday.com said that a biennial visual inspection with vinegar reduced cancer mortality by nearly one-third, doctors said.
Women, ages 35 to 64 years with no prior history of cancer, were assigned to screening with vinegar or no screening -- the current standard of care in India.
Primary health workers administered vinegar to the women's cervix with a cotton swab.
If the spot turned white within 60 seconds, it meant there were no pre-cancerous changes in the tissue, the study states.
Researchers found that the incidence of invasive cervical cancer was 26.74 per 100,000 in the screening group, and 27.49 per 100,000 in the control group.
Previous studies have suggested that visual inspection with vinegar is a reasonable alternative to Pap smears due to its low cost and ease of use, but the practice has been slow to catch on.
Researchers, who are hoping the study will lead to the use of the practice, said the strategy could prevent 22,000 cervical cancer deaths in India and 73,000 in resource-poor countries worldwide.