Pap test

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Pap test,

 

Pap smear,

or

Papanicolaou test

(păp'ənē`kəlou), medical procedure used to detect cancer of the uterine cervix (see uterusuterus,
in most female mammals, hollow muscular organ in which the fetus develops and from which it is delivered at the end of pregnancy. The human uterus is pear-shaped and about 3 in. (7.
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). A scraping, brushing, or smear, is taken from the surface of the vagina or cervix and is prepared on a slide and stained for microscopic examination and cytological analysis. The appearance of the cells determines whether they are normal, suspicious, or cancerous. Although the test is 80% to 95% reliable, results termed suspicious may indicate infection or some abnormal condition other than cancer. A DNA test for the human papillomovirushuman papillomavirus
(HPV), any of a family of more than 60 viruses that cause various growths, including plantar warts and genital warts, a sexually transmitted disease. Detectable warts can be or removed, usually by chemicals, freezing, or laser, but often recur.
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, which causes cervical cancer, may be used to supplement or replace the Pap test. The smear technique is also used to detect cancer of other tissues, e.g., in the bladder. The Pap test was developed by G. N. Papanicolaou and H. F. Traut in 1943.

Pap test

[′pap ‚test]
(pathology)

Pap test

, smear Med
a similar test for precancerous cells in other organs