07:38 2nd February 2018 | LBC
Cytopathology, a branch of pathology, deals with manifestations of disease at the cellular level.
Liquid-based cytology is a method of preparing samples for examination in cytopathology.
Liquid-based cytology is an alternative to the Pap test (smear test). Both form part of a cervical cancer screening that can also include an HPV test and physical pelvis examination.
The goal of a cervical screening is to
Regular (as required) screening helps reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality.
What Happens During Liquid-based Cytology
Like a Pap smear, Liquid-based Cytology (LBC) involves collecting (‘scraping’) a sample of cells from the surface of the cervix.
A small brush is used to collect the cells (a spatula in the case of a Pap smear). Cells from LBC remain on the head of the brush which gets broken off and placed into a small pot of liquid that goes to a lab. Cells collected during a Pap smear are transferred to a microscope slide and sent to a lab.
Once at a lab, a careful examination takes place. Once complete, results are communicated to the healthcare professional who then informs the patient. Results fall into the following categories:
Not all HPV strains lead to cervical (and other) cancer, however, HPV is found in 99% of cervical cancers making it the main cause of cervical cancer.
Precancer needs to be addressed. Early diagnosis helps to simplify treatment and improve outcome. When a patient has pre-cancerous cells it does not mean she has cervical cancer.
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