Cytologic Examination

Out of all the diseases prevalent today, cancer still stands out as the one deadly disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. The worst part about a person developing cancer is that when it gets diagnosed, the disease has usually progressed further than the stage of reversing it. Although there is no standard gold line of investigation that could help diagnose any tumour or cancer in the body, there are always certain risk factors that could help rule out its presence in the absence of other obvious symptoms. One such investigation is the Cytologic Examination. This test works to detect the presence of any abnormal or diseased cells in the body. Since any abnormal cell could be a precursor for cancer, if a person comes up with the presence of these abnormal cells, it then becomes easier to order further targeted investigations to confirm if the person might be having cancer or not. Cytology or cytological examination is different from a biopsy because, in the former, only cells are used for investigation. In contrast, in the latter, pieces of body ‘tissues’ are used for the diagnosis. A cytological examination involves investigating the following components, as needed: - Sputum - Gastric fluid - Peritoneal fluid - Pleural fluid - Tracheal washing - Spinal fluid - Bone marrow aspiration - Cervical and vaginal smears.

Common conditions covered by a Cytologic Examination

Cancer, Fetal abnormalities, Pap smears, Thyroid lesions, Inflammatory conditions, Infectious diseases

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FAQs on Cytologic Examination

What is cytology?

Cytology involves examining cells from bodily tissues or fluids to aid diagnosis. It tests for damaged, abnormal or dead cells in the sample, particularly cancerous cells.

What kinds of cytology tests are there?

Some common types of cytology tests include breast/ prostate cytology, thyroid cytology, respiratory cytology, Ear/eye cytology, gynecologic cytology, and lymph node cytology.

When is cytology used?

HCPs only use a diagnostic test for a person with signs or symptoms suggestive of a particular disease or infection. It could be ordered to diagnose infectious diseases, inflammatory conditions, examine thyroid lesions, and diseases involving body spaces such as pericardium and pleural fluid.

How does a cytology test work?

The test involves the collection of blood/tissue or fluid samples, and sample collection is different for each type of cytology test. After proper sample collection, cells are processed and examined via laboratory methods. Finally, the results are available in the form of laboratory reports.

What are the benefits of a cytology test?

These tests require a small sample compared to a tissue biopsy and are less invasive. These tests are less likely to produce discomfort and complications. These are also less costly and provide comprehensive information about cells and the disease suggestive of them.