If you’re a woman, you may view the Pap test as somewhat of an inconvenience, or even a few minutes of terror. This might put you off from getting tested, but here’s why you should stop avoiding it and book an appointment now.
The Pap test, or Pap smear, is so named in honor of its inventor, a Greek doctor called George (Georgios) Nicholas Papanicolaou(1883–1962).
He researched abnormal mutations in the cells of the female reproductive system.
His work focused on examining smears of cervical tissue — the cervix is the lower, narrow part of a woman’s uterus — to screen for potential warning signs related to gynecological health.
Papanicolaou was not the first researcher to collect cells from the cervical area, or to note that these cells could be screened for telling abnormal mutations. A Romanian doctor called Aurel Babeş had previously come up with a similar method of collecting cells from cervical tissue.
However, “[T]he two methods were viewed to be substantially different,” and ultimately the credit went to Papanicolaou.
What is the Pap test for?