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"We looked at the ethics very carefully" and felt them to be sound, and visited the project in India, said Trimble of the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Sandra Swain, a cancer specialist at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, also defended the research. She is president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the research results were presented at that group’s meeting in Chicago on Sunday.
"There really was no wrongdoing there," she said. "They have no screening anyway," so there is no standard of care now.
Officials in India already are making plans to expand the vinegar testing to a wider population.
Many poor countries can’t afford mammograms for breast cancer screening either. The India study also has been testing breast exams by health workers as an alternative. Preliminary results suggest breast cancers are being found at an earlier stage, but it’s too soon to know if that will save lives because not enough women have died yet to compare the groups, said Trimble of the National Cancer Institute.
More progress against cervical cancer may come from last month’s announcement that two companies will drastically lower prices on HPV vaccines for poor countries. Pilot projects will begin in Asia and Africa; the campaign aims to vaccinate more than 30 million girls in more than 40 countries by 2020.
Associated Press Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione reported from Chicago.
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