Cytopathology is a diagnostic technique that examines cells from various body sites to determine the cause or the nature of disease. The first cytopathology test developed was the Pap (Papanicolaou) test which has been widely utilized in the last 50 years for screening and diagnosing of cervical cancer and its precursors. The Pap test is considered the most successful screening test in medical history.
Since the development of the Pap test, the practice of cytopathology has expanded to include samples from nearly all body sites. Cell samples are taken for analysis as part of many diagnostic procedures such as bronchoscopy or cystoscopy. In addition, nearly any tissue mass can be sampled and diagnosed by fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). In this procedure, cells are aspirated from masses just below the skin in the doctor’s office or during a radiologic examination. This approach allows diagnosis of a lesion with minimal discomfort to the patient and guides the primary physician in the next steps in patient management.
A cytopathologist is an anatomic pathologist trained in the diagnosis of human disease by the study of cells obtained from body secretions and fluids by exfoliation, scraping, washing, or brushing the surface of a lesion, or by the aspiration of a tumor mass or body organ with a fine needle.
A major aspect of a cytopathologist’s practice is the interpretation of Papanicolaou-stained smears of cells from the female reproductive systems (i.e., the Pap test). However, the cytopathologist’s expertise is applied to the diagnosis of cells from all systems and areas of the body. The cytopathologist is a diagnostic consultant to all clinicians directing attention to disease cause and behavior with a patient centered approach. Fine Needle Aspiration yield can be maximized by on-site adequacy assessment in collaboration with radiologists and primary care physicians.
Preparation of cell specimens needs the expertise of a trained cytotechnician who processes the specimen into slides to be screened microscopically for the diagnosis of cancer, precancerous conditions, benign tumors and some infectious conditions. The test results are communicated to the primary physician for medical or surgical treatment and follow up of the patients.
- Dow Diagnostics provides Clinic/Hospital specimen pickup and delivery via daily courier runs, special request pickup/delivery available
- The laboratory supplies the following: Thin-prep collection kits, Urine Cytology containers, and Non-Gyn containers and fixatives.
- DOW Diagnostics also offers off-site Cyto-tech for FNA procedures.