There is no available screening product that adequately diagnoses tissue as part of an initial examination. Diagnostic testing is limited to colposcopy
and laboratory-based tissue analysis which normally occur after a Pap test indicates possible disease. In high income countries, there is no alternative screening product to the Pap test. Direct visual inspection or aided visual inspection of the cervix treated with acetic acid or Lugolís solution has been found to be inadequate in low income countries and would lead to overtreatment if used by itself.
A device that uses random limited probing of the cervix with electrical and optical stimulus-response has been manufactured by an Australian company and has been available in European markets since late 2001 for use in conjunction with the Pap test. At that company's 2005 annual shareholders meeting, the board chairman announced that their product "is unlikely to be commercially viable in the Western World" and they have effectively abandoned these markets. Both their hardware and their disposable component are expensive to build and the product performance is about the same as the Pap test. No mapping of the cervix is possible because location information is not provided by the product. No direct feedback is provided to the operator regarding probing technique and thus the accuracy of the product varies with operator proficiency. This device was never engineered to probe the canal.
Other systems are under development for a diagnostic examination using optical testing of the cervix. This technology will require expensive equipment with special maintenance requirements and may ultimately be available to hospitals and follow-on clinics. In a 2005 medical review article of such devices, none of the devices under development were designed to test the cervical canal.
The chemical detection of biological markers that identify abnormal conditions is under investigation by research companies. As with the Pap test, this approach suffers from the limitation that the collection technique is not controlled for thoroughness. Obtaining samples from the canal also faces the same difficulties as the Pap test. In addition, the location on the cervix of the collected sample is unknown. At the current stage of development, this
type of testing would only be used with the Pap test to improve screening tests.