Glossary around the Pap smear

Smear test

A smear test usually refers specifically to a Pap test, that is, a cervical smear. However, smear tests also include e.g. vaginal wet mount, that is, a vaginal smear. Different types of smear tests may also be used for cancer diagnosis. In this sense, it is termed a cytologic smear.


The cervix (from Latin "neck") is actually the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. It is cylindrical or conical in shape and protrudes through the upper anterior vaginal wall. Approximately half its length is visible with appropriate medical equipment; the remainder lies above the vagina beyond view. It is occasionally called "cervix uteri", or "neck of the uterus".


Dysplasia is a term used in pathology to refer to an abnormality of development. This generally consists of an expansion of immature cells, with a corresponding decrease in the number and location of mature cells.


Gynaecology (British) or gynecology (North American) literally means 'the science of women', but in medicine this is the specialty of diseases of the female reproductive system (uterus, vagina and ovaries)


Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood).

Cancer Screening

Screening, in medicine, is a strategy used in a population to detect a disease in individuals without signs or symptoms of that disease. Unlike what generally happens in medicine, screening tests are performed on persons without any clinical sign of disease.


Necrosis is the premature death of cells and living tissue. Necrosis is caused by external factors, such as infection, toxins or trauma. This is in contrast to apoptosis, which is a naturally occurring cause of cellular death. While apoptosis often provides beneficial effects to the organism, necrosis is almost always detrimental.

Uterus, womb

The uterus or womb is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina, while the other is connected on each side to the fallopian tubes.

Pap Test, Paptest

The Papanicolau test (also called Pap smear, Pap test, cervical smear, or smear test) is a screening test used in gynecology to detect premalignant and malignant processes in the cervix. Significant changes can be treated, thus preventing cervical cancer.

Szalay Cyto-Spatula Pap test

The Szalay Cyto-Spatula Pap test is a traditional Pap test made with the Szalay Cyto-Spatula device.

Sensitivity and specificity

Sensitivity and specificity are statistical measures of the performance of a binary classification test. Sensitivity measures the proportion of actual positives which are correctly identified as such. Specificity measures the proportion of negatives which are correctly identified.


Mit Zytodiagnostik (aus der gr. Vorsilbe κὺτος / zyt = Zelle) wird die Herstellung von Zellkulturen mittels gefärbter Ausstriche oder die mikroskopische Untersuchung von Gewebeteilen (zumeist auch labortechnisch eingefärbt) bezeichnet. Die Gewebeproben werden mittels einer Biopsie (Feinnadelbiopsie) entnommen und histologisch untersucht.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is malignant neoplasm of the cervix uteri or cervical area. 


Cytology means "the study of cells". Cytology is that branch of life science, which deals with the study of cells in terms of structure, function and chemistry.