font size

Definition of Pap Smear

Pap Smear: A screening test for cervical cancer based on the examination of cells under the microscope. The cells are collected from the cervix, smeared on a slide and specially stained to reveal premalignant (before cancer) and malignant (cancer) changes as well as changes due to noncancerous conditions such as inflammation from infections. Also called a Pap smear.

The Pap technique was developed by and named after George Papanicolaou (1883-1962), a Greek-born physician and scientist who moved to the U.S. In 1923, while looking at vaginal smears from women with cervical cancer, Papanicolaou saw cancer cells. After two decades of research on this subject, he reported in 1943 that both cervical and uterine cancer could be detected in their early stages with this test that has, since its inception, saved innumerable lives.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6329
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

Drug Medical Dictionary of Terms by Letter

Top RxList Drug News

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations