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Cytology - A few minutes that saves lives

Cytologia

Cytology – what is it?

Cytology is the most popular diagnostic method used in gynecology. The test is performed mainly for the prevention of cervical cancer, but also allows detecting other abnormalities in the female reproductive system.

Types of cytology

The most popular type of cytology is exfoliative cytology. The doctor uses a special brush to take cells from the cervix. Then they are applied to a special slide, secured and forwarded to the laboratory for microscopic evaluation.

Another type of cytology is LBC cytology (liquid). In this case, the doctor takes the cells of the cervical mucosa and fixes them in a special liquid medium. Thanks to this, the risk of cell damage is minimized and the test itself is more accurate.

Why should women have regular cytology?

Cytology is the fastest, non-invasive and effective diagnostic method. Just taking a swab for testing takes just a few seconds. If the doctor does not recommend otherwise, a Pap test is enough to perform once every 2–3 years. Taking cytology is completely painless, and allows you to detect many abnormalities of the female reproductive organ. The main purpose of Pap smear is the prevention of cervical cancer. The disease develops even several years, and cytology allows you to detect it even at a very early stage. Early detection of cervical cancer is fully curable. That is why prevention and regular cytology are so important. Thanks to the examination, inflammation of the reproductive organ can also be detected.

When to perform the first cytology?

Women should report for the first Pap test between 18 and 25 years of age. If they have started intercourse earlier, then the beginning of sexual activity is the best time to perform the first cytology. From the first examination, unless the doctor prescribes otherwise, cytology should be performed every 2–3 years.

Cytology – preparation for the examination?

Pap smear examination is best done in the first half of the cycle. In practice, cytology is taken every day of the cycle except for the days when bleeding occurs. It is recommended that women present for the examination at least 2 days after the bleeding has stopped and no later than 2 days before menstruation.

What should be kept in mind before the test?

    • Do not report for examination during menstrual bleeding,

    • 1–2 days before the planned cytology should not have intercourse,

    • 3 days before the examination, do not use any drugs and vaginal globules, tampons, irrigation, etc.,

    • When applying for cytology collection, the date of the last menstruation and the length of the cycle should be given to the doctor/midwife.

Cytology – the course of the study

Cytology is taken during a routine gynecological examination. At the beginning, the doctor interviews the patient. He will ask about the date of the last menstruation and the length of the cycle and the bleeding itself. Your doctor will also need information about your current contraception, medications and chronic diseases. He will also ask about previous pregnancies, births and the age when the first menstruation appeared.

After the interview, the doctor will ask the patient to undress from the waist down and take the gynaecological chair. After inserting the speculum into the vagina, the doctor uses a special brush to take a swab from the cervix. Collecting the material for testing is painless, sometimes patients do not feel the moment of collection at all. Then the doctor applies the sample to a slide, fixes it and forwards it to the laboratory, where the cytologist or histopathologist will evaluate it.

Cytology – results

The results of the cytological examination usually wait 4 weeks. It should be remembered that not every abnormal result of cytology means a serious illness. Often, an abnormal result is associated with inflammation occurring in the vagina, e.g. bacterial or fungal infection. If necessary, the doctor will order additional diagnostics – re-smear collection, colposcopy or biopsy.

The results of cytology are interpreted according to the 5-point Papanicolau scale:

Group I – there are normal cells of the superficial layer of the multilayer epithelium of the flat cervical disc.
Group II – there is a large number of inflammatory and epithelial cells with features of degenerative changes.
Group III – dysplastic cells are present in the smear.
Group IV – cells with features of preinvasive squamous cell carcinoma were detected.
Group V – cancer cells characteristic of cervical squamous cell carcinoma or other malignant cancer of the body or cervix were detected.

 

Cytology – price

How much does Cytology cost? Take a look at our price list.

 

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