Reproductive System

Female Reproductive System

When did the Pap test become accepted as a diagnostic tool to detect cancer?

During the 1920s George Papanicolaou (1883–1962) did research that showed a microscopic smear of vaginal fluid could detect the presence of cancer cells in the uterus. These findings were not generally accepted at the time by the medical community. Several years later, in 1943, he published Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear with Herbert F. Traut, a clinical gynecologist. This time, following publication of his findings, the medical community began to use the Pap smear as a diagnostic tool for cancer. The Pap smear is more than 90 percent reliable in detecting cancer, decreasing dramatically the mortality rate for cancer of the uterus and cervix.


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