Flinders Medical Centre Foundation
Flinders Medical Centre Foundation

Cervical Cancer

New Studies Underway Into Cervical Cancer
First Published: Investigator - April 2005

Researchers at Flinders Medical Centre are leading the nation in developing ways to improve the early detection of cervical cancer.

The incidence of cervical cancer has decreased in South Australia by 35 per cent in the past 20 years due to the participation of many women in screening programs that focus on detection of pre-cancerous lesions.

Lead by Dr Robert James, the research team is the only one of its kind in Australia carrying out molecular research to determine the characteristics of pre-cancerous cells in the cervix.

The intensive study seeks to compare the characteristics commonly found in normal cells with those of abnormal cells to establish a profile to enhance the rate of early detection and patient survival.

Dr Robert James says the team chose to focus its molecular studies on cervical cancer because it was an area that was in need of improvement.

“Early detection of pre cancerous cells in the cervix is likely to reduce the risk of cervical cancer significantly,” Dr James said.

“The current method of examining cervical tissue was introduced in 1943 and there have been very few attempts in the intervening years to improve it.

“We are looking to better understand what makes up a normal and abnormal cell so the screening process can become more accurate.”

The team’s research will take place along side other leading edge research projects at the proposed Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer.

The integrated Cancer Centre will be the first of its kind in Australia, focusing on innovative prevention strategies, translational clinical and biomedical research and comprehensive and holistic patient care.

“There has always been a great focus on finding a cure for cancer, but we believe more resources should be directed to the areas of prevention and early detection, the real key to increasing cancer survival,” Dr James said.

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