Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer
Visual inspection with acetic acid is an effective method for detecting abnormal cells in the cervix.
The procedure is simple. The health care provider simply swabs vinegar, i.e. acetic acid, on the cervix and looks for areas that change color. Normal cervical tissue remains unaffected by the acetic acid, but damaged tissue -- such as that found in pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions -- turns white. The provider can then remove the damaged tissue on the spot using cryotherapy or other techniques, or they can perform a biopsy for further follow-up.