Papanicolaou Develops the Pap Test for Diagnosing Uterine Cancer (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Papanicolaou developed a cytologic technique called the Papanicolaou smear (Pap test) for diagnosing uterine cancer, the second most common fatal cancer in American woman.
Summary of Event
Cancer, first named by the Greek physician Hippocrates of Cos (460-377 b.c.e.), is one of the most painful and dreaded forms of human disease. It is known now to occur when body cells run wild and interfere with the normal activities of the body. The early diagnosis of cancer is extremely important because early detection often makes it possible to effect successful cures. The modern detection of cancer is usually done by the microscopic examination of the appearance of the cancer cells, via the techniques of the area of biology called cytology.
Development of cancer cytology began in 1867, after L. S. Beale reported tumor cells in the saliva from a patient who was afflicted with cancer of the pharynx. Beale recommended the use in cancer detection of microscopic examination of cells shed or removed (exfoliated) from organs including the digestive, the urinary, and the reproductive tracts. Soon, other scientists identified numerous striking differences between normal cells from various tissues and cancers of those tissues. These differences include cell size and shape, the size of cell nuclei, and the complexity of cell nuclei.
Modern cytologic detection of cancer evolved from the work of...
(The entire section is 1798 words.)
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