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Pathology studies the origin, characterization and function of disease by thorough examination of body fluids, organs, tissues and cells. This generally involves gross and microscopic visual examination of tissues, with special stains and immunohistochemistry employed to visualize specific proteins and other substances in and around cells. The majority of cancer diagnoses are made or confirmed by a pathologist. In many cases, Pathologist's can catch the early signs of cancer, allowing patients to be treated before the disease actually develops. Pathologists typically do not see patients directly, but rather serve as consultants to other physicians. Pathology helps determine how infections, trauma, genetic damage and the treatment process influences disease progression or regression. By determining the nature of cell and tissue injury and how the body repairs from injury, physicians are better able to determine a treatment plan for each individual patient.

Please visit www.cancer.net for more information on over 40 cancer related topics to help patients and caregivers better understand their pathology reports, diagnoses, and treatment options.


The Pap test or Pap smear is a screening test that has been very successful at finding signs of cervical cancer, or cells that may turn into cancer cells in the future. To perform the test, your doctor gently brushes or scrapes cells from your uterine cervix, and then sends the cells to a laboratory for review. The test allows laboratory professionals to spot early signs of cancer so that, if any are found, you can be treated before the disease actually develops.

What makes a liquid Pap Test different from the conventional slide preparation Pap?

The liquid Pap is the first real improvement to the conventional Pap smear in 50 years. While the doctor will still collect the cervical cells from you in the same way, it's the way the cells are treated in the laboratory that makes the ThinPrep® Pap Test so different. As a result, the lab can process a higher quality slide to read. Once your cells have been taken, the doctor rinses them into a vial of liquid instead of smearing them onto a slide. Because the cells aren't "smeared," they don't clump together. This method also allows the doctor to preserve almost all of the sample, rather than just a portion. The vial is then sent to the laboratory, where a machine separates the cells from unnecessary materials, such as blood and mucus. The remaining, important cells are then placed onto a slide in a clear and uncrowded way. This approach makes the slide easier for the lab to read.

image provided courtesy of Cytyc Corporation and affiliates


For more information on liquid Paps go to: www.thinprep.com
What is HPV?

HPV stands for "human papillomavirus". It is a very common virus. In fact, it is estimated that 8 out of every 10 women get HPV by the age of 50. For most women, HPV is not a problem. They are able to fight off the infection before it causes any problems. For some, however, the infection persists. If an infection with a "high-risk" type of HPV persists, abnormal cells may develop - and turn into cervical cancer if not detected and treated early.

HPV testing can determine if a patient has high-risk HPV and needs to be examined more carefully. The Pap smear may not find abnormal cells until cancer has developed. That's why experts now recommend that women 30 and over (when risk of cervical cancer is highest) get the HPV test along with their Pap.

For more information on HPV testing go to: www.theHPVtest.com


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