Objective: To address the value of visual inspection where HPV-based screening is not yet available, we evaluated the real-world effectiveness of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and with Lugol's iodine (VILI) as a primary screening method for cervical cancer in rural China.
Methods: A total of 206 133 women aged 30-59 years received two rounds of VIA/VILI screening for cervical cancer in 2006-2010. Women with positive screening results underwent colposcopy and direct biopsy, and were treated if cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2+) was diagnosed. Clinical effectiveness of VIA/VILI was evaluated by process and outcome measures.
Results: The VIA/VILI positivity rate, biopsy rate and detection rate of CIN2+ in the second round were significantly lower than in the first round. The 2-year cumulative detection rate of CIN2+ varied from 0.53% to 0.90% among the four cohorts initiated in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. The first round of screening detected 60%-83% of CIN2, 70%-86% of CIN3, and 88%-100% of cervical cancer. Over 92% of CIN2+ were found at the early stage.
Conclusion: Multiple rounds of visual inspection with continuous training and quality assurance could act as a temporary substitutional screening method for cervical cancer in resource-restricted settings.