Papanicolaou test

Definition / meaning of Papanicolaou test

A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect cancer and changes that may lead to cancer. A Papanicolaou test can also show conditions, such as infection or inflammation, that are not cancer. Also called Pap smear and Pap test.

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The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (

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