Our Work

Feasibility Study of a Low-Cost, Portable, Fiberoptic Nasolaryngoscope for Early Screening and Detection of Head and Neck Cancers in Vietnam

Project Objectives

Head and neck cancers (HNC) are the 6th most common cancer worldwide. These cancers are difficult to diagnose early due to the complex anatomy, lack of equipment, and limited expertise available for examination of the upper aerodigestive tract. These issues result in delayed diagnosis and high morbidity and mortality of advanced staged HNC.

One solution to this problem is development of a low-cost, portable, fiberoptic nasolaryngoscope (FNS) that can allow for rapid screening and early detection of HNC. This project aims to test the feasibility of such a FNS in Vietnam. Within this proposal is a mentoring and education component to build the health care capacity of Vietnam. This will be done by training mid-level health care providers (i.e. nurses) to perform the examination. Photo documentation capability in the FNS will allow for consultation and review from otolaryngology specialists at the Vietnamese tertiary referral center as well as Duke University Medical Center.

The results from this pilot will enable a larger scale proposal that will allow for distribution of the FNS to areas throughout Vietnam with trained mid-level health care providers trained in its use. Detection of HNC and other pathology can be referred to tertiary care centers, while persons with normal examinations can be clinically followed, thereby resulting in improved utilization of limited resources. The early detection of HNC will result in improved patient outcomes and survival. This work will be the model by which other low and middle income countries can improve detection and diagnosis of HNC.


Department & School

Biomedical Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering



  • Duke Global Health Institute


  • Duke NUS

Project Status


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