Dr. Paul D. Blumenthal: Innovations in Cervical Cancer Prevention
Dr. Paul Blumenthal, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services (SPIRES) at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, has a distinguished career in Obstetrics & Gynecology spanning close to 40 years.
In addition to his leadership roles in medical academia, Dr. Blumenthal is an author of over 40 peer-reviewed publications on cervical cancer with significant research devoted to its prevention, particularly in low-resource settings. According to his findings, there has been an evolution over the years on the screening practices, and the relative importance of screening coverage and linkage to treatment as opposed to just which test to use. A pap smear had been the primary screening tool for decades. “Having a screening program is very important in tandem with a treatment plan. Screening alone does not have any intrinsic preventive value,” said Dr. Blumenthal. However, now there are multiple screening modalities which can help with greater screening coverage.
Additionally, with advances in treatment in recent years, there are some new, highly effective, and convenient options available. While primary prevention though HPV vaccination and a healthy lifestyle are the best weapons against cervical cancer, there are ways to treat this deadly disease. Thermal Ablation is a procedure used quite often to treat precancerous dysplasia. A newer method of treatment that cauterizes cancerous growths with a battery-powered “heat gun” in a simple and safe procedure.
Recently, Dr. Blumenthal hosted a webinar, “Novel Developments in Cervical Cancer Prevention” and discussed the preventative screening measures and treatments for cervical cancer. Thermal Ablation, similar to cryotherapy, is a highly portable device used to treat precancerous lesions This innovative approach takes about 1 minute for an effective treatment and can perform dozens of procedures on a single charge of the 9V battery. Unlike cryotherapy, there is no “spread” of the ablated area during the procedure.
Dr. Blumenthal discussed in detail the benefits of this treatment using the MedGyn MTA-100 Thermal Ablation System and interchangeable gold alloy tips. “One unique advantage of the MedGyn Thermal Ablation System is the 25mm probe. MedGyn is the only company, to my knowledge, that has a 25mm probe,” he explained. “This probe size can cover the entire lesion, even on a parous or patulous cervix. This is a very innovative approach to treatment. We are regularly using this at Stanford,” he added.
Additionally, he has conducted extensive work on a global scale. His international efforts include Family Planning services in multiple developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Central America. For Dr. Blumenthal, it’s important to address health disparities with regards to cervical cancer prevention methodologies and the need for affordable, accessible approaches to cervical cancer prevention with viable, and reliable links to pre-cancer treatments in Ethiopia, India, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Myanmar as well. He has authored and contributed to hundreds of publications for medical journals.
Dr. Blumenthal acknowledges that the landscape of cervical cancer prevention will change radically in the years ahead and is looking forward to the incorporating new technological innovations in this important area.
(1) Novel Developments in Cervical Cancer Prevention- Webinar with Dr. Paul Blumenthal – YouTube