Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - Community Healthcare - 38

THE TRUTH BY T.R. FITCHKO

The Pap test is a
simple screening
that has saved many
women's lives.

THE TRUTH ABOUT

PAP TESTS
38

FAL L 2018

PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

The screening exam is still a lifesaving
diagnostic tool after more than 60 years

Talk about a powerhouse of preventive
medicine: In the decades after the Pap
test was introduced in the 1950s, deaths
from cervical cancer declined more than 60 percent.
Thanks to the Pap test, today's women ages 21 to 65
can get screened and prevent many cervical cancers
before they start.
"This is a really, really good screening test because
it can prevent cancer ... before it actually becomes
cancer, and it [the Pap test] does it very accurately,"
says Chemen M. Neal, MD, mentorship chairwoman
for the American Medical Women's Association and
a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists.
Credit the staying power of the Pap to George
Papanicolaou, the Greek doctor who was able to
discern healthy cervical cells from malignant ones
under a microscope starting in the 1920s. In the
early 1900s, cervical cancer was the No. 1 cancer
killer of women. Today, cervical cancer still kills
about 4,000 women a year in the U.S., but virtually
all of those deaths are preventable.



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