What is involved in the cytology test for detecting cancer? Is it painful? When is it recommended?

What is a cytology?

It’s a cell-specific study (cytes = cell) that is extracted from the area that is supposed to be tumorous for analysis.

Perhaps many women are more familiar with the name of the gynecologist who put this test into practice: Pap. Georges Papanicolaou, a Greek physician naturalized in the United States, proposed obtaining cervico-vaginal cells for your study. The test is based on exactly that, on obtain cells from the areas that most frequently may be damaged.

With a small wooden spatula and a cotton swab, obtain cells from the cervix, endocervical canal, and vagina, where there may be cells shed from the uterus. Those cells are then fixed, stained, and analyzed. It is about seeing if there are alterations and if there is any differentiation that allows us to know not only if there is a precancerous possibility, but also any other type of anomaly.

20% of Spanish women have never had a cytology.

Does a Pap smear hurt?

It is not a painful test and it must be emphasized that it is about collecting “loose” cells that can be obtained by rubbing. But that it is not about any aggression, nor about an extraction of tissue. Therefore, it can be said that it is a painless, simple and cheap test.

Thanks to her he uterine canceror rather, the consequences of uterine cancer have decreased remarkably.

What can a cytology tell us?

You can advise the specialist cell changes or alterations. You can also know if there is any vaginal infection and if there is some virus that can be related to cervical canceras is the human papilloma. It is known that it is a virus that has the ability to make cells mutate. And it is known today that the papilloma virus is a necessary condition for this cancer to develop. Cytology puts an extraordinary element in the hands of the gynecologist for the early diagnosis of any anomaly or alteration.

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It is possible that atypical, abnormal cells appear and then it will be the gynecologist who will propose other tests or repeat the same within a certain period. It may also show the presence of suspicious cells. Perhaps they are incipient, so the specialist will recommend a close watch, because they can disappear or they can, on the contrary, increase.

In this case, it is normal to determine the performance of a biopsy and, according to the result, establish the appropriate treatment.

When should it be done?

Although there may be other opinions, most specialists suggest that cytology or the Pap smear should be done from the age of 25 (or sooner if sexual intercourse has begun). The most recommended frequency for repeating the test is every three years after two annual examinations with normal results. These tests should be done all women, regardless of their sexual activity.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is the pathology study of a tissue fragment that is removed from the body. It is about knowing the character of that tissue and if it has tumor cells or, if it is already a tumor, to know some of its characteristics. In short, the biopsy is the analysis of cells that the pathologist does to find out if they are tumors or not; and to inform, in the case of cancer, what type it is.

What is thermography?

It is a technique that measures the temperature of different tissues in order to know its metabolic activity. It is not bloody or painful and is like obtaining a photograph of the heat of the organs being analyzed. Although it can be useful in some tumors, there are currently much more sophisticated techniques. can be defined as one more test.

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