Friday, March 9, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #29: Pap Edition

So, yeah, you'll have noticed by now that I haven't blogged in like, a month. Booooooooooo.

Well, I've been busy. Personal things, you know. In any case it's my blog and I don't see you paying for it, freeloader, so if I want to quit for a month, I will.

Besides, the more you blog, the larger the blogging center of your brain gets; but if you stop for awhile, it shrivels up, and then it's harder to think of ideas.

Pictured: The blogging center of the brain.

I've been having problems thinking of something to blog about. But, like so many great artists, I take a lot of inspiration from my life, and it just so happens I had a pap smear this morning. The midwife says I have a perfect cervix, by the way.

Thanks, I grew it myself.

1) The Pap smear is named after Dr. George Papanicolaou, a Greek doctor who began researching vaginal cytology in 1920, while at Cornell University Medical School's Anatomy Department. In 1923, Dr. Papanicolaou began examining vaginal secretions taken from a group of women. He hoped to identify and categorize cellular the cellular changes that occur in a lady's parts over the course of her menstrual cycle. One of his subjects was suffering from uterine cancer. When Dr. Papanicolaou looked at her cervical cells under a microscope, he saw the difference right away. As he wrote later, this discovery was one of the “greatest thrills” of his entire medical career.

Pictured: A great thrill. ~ Alex Brollo

2) By 1928, Dr. Papanicolaou had developed a means of diagnosing cervical cancers by examining vaginal cells beneath a microscope. Skepticism greeted presentation of the technique to a conference in Battle Creek, Michigan.

3) Dr. Papanicolaou won an ally in Dr. Herbert Traut, with whom he collaborated to publish a 1941 paper on the diagnostic value of his technique. Their creatively-titled 1943 paper, “Diagnosis of uterine cancer by the vaginal smear,” finally won them the medical community's acceptance of their work. Because of his work in the field of cervical cancer diagnosis, many now regard Dr. Papanicolaou as the father of cytopathology.

4) To perform a Pap smear, a medical professional removes cells from both the outside of the cervix and inside the cervical opening. Lab technicians stain the cells using a Pap stain, also developed by Dr. Papanicolaou. The stain uses five dyes, which will stain the specimen literally all the colors of the rainbow.

Which are these ones, in case you forgot. ~ Wing-Chi Poon

5) The popularity of regular Pap screenings, have reduced the incidence of cervical cancer deaths in developed countries by almost 70 percent since World War II. Cervical cancer remains the world's deadliest gynecologic cancer. Women who are screened regularly (every two to three years) have about a 20 percent chance of developing cervical cancer, and a one percent chance of death from cervical cancer.