Pap (Cervical, Vaginal, Anal)

Another aspect of an anatomic pathologist’s job duties is to review cytology specimens which is somewhat different than analyzing biopsy and resection tissue specimens. As opposed to a tissue specimen which gives the pathologist an actual solid portion of tissue to review, a cytology specimen is the analysis of single cells or groups of cells under the microscope.  Cervical, vaginal and anal swabs and smears are one of these types of cytology specimens. These types of swabs or smears will undergo processing by the histology/cytology laboratory which includes placing the cells on a slide and then the slide is stained with a “pap” stain. The pathologist will then review these slides under the microscope in order to determine if cancer cells or if pre-cancer cells (dysplastic cells) are present. These pap-stained cytology slides of the cervix, vagina or anus are considered screening tests and therefore if an abnormality, or even a potential abnormality, is identified on these slides further evaluation with biopsy should almost always be performed.

Hospital Pathologist | Lab Community Hospital | Grand Junction, CO