Is an invention of Dr. Georgios Papanicolaou (1883-1962), an American of Greek birth, the father of cytopathology. The test is simple and effective, consisting of a simple cervical swab to collect a sampling of cells. These cells are placed on a glass slide and checked for abnormalities in the laboratory. Approximately five to seven percent of pap smears produce abnormal results, such as dysplasia, a possibly pre-cancerous condition. Many of these abnormalities are not due to cervical cancer, but they are an indicator that increased vigilance is needed.
A screening test, especially for cervical cancer, in which a smear of cells exfoliated or scraped from the cervix or vagina is treated with Papanicolaou stain and examined under a microscope for pathological changes. Also called Papanicolaou smear, Papanicolaou test, Pap test.