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PAP Smear

PAP Smear: Glossary

Monday, April 23, 2012 - 13:03

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to Pap smear.

AGUS: Stands for Atypical Glandular Cells of Undetermined Significance. This diagnostic category indicates that light changes in cells in cervical glands have been seen under the microscope.

ASCUS: Stands for Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance. This diagnostic category indicates that slight changes in flat cells on the surface of the cervix have been seen under the microscope.

Biopsy: Removal of a small sample of living tissue that will be examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present

Carcinoma: Same as cancer; an uncontrolled growth of cells that tends to invade surrounding tissue and spread to other locations

Cervix: The lower third of the uterus or womb. The cervix projects into the vagina and contains the canal through which sperm enter, menstrual flow exits, and babies are born.

Chlamydia: A sexually transmitted disease

Colposcopy: An examination of the vagina with a colposcope, an instrument that has a light source and lenses that project the inner surface of the vagina and cervix onto a television monitor

Ectocervix: The part of the cervix closest to the vagina

Endocervix: The part of the cervix closest to the body

Epithelium: A lining membrane

Fallopian tubes: The two ducts between the uterus and the ovary through which eggs made in the ovary travel to the uterus

Human papillomavirus (HPV): A virus that causes warts on the skin and mucous membranes, causes genital warts, and is implicated as a cause of cervical cancer; it has nothing to do with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

Lesion: A wound or injury

Ovary: The two ovaries produce the eggs for reproduction every month.

Pelvic examination: A noninvasive gynecologic examination to detect abnormalities in female reproductive organs

Squamous cells: Flat, scale-like cells of the inner lining of the cervix

Spermicide: Any of various contraceptive creams inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse to kill sperm and prevent pregnancy

Uterus: The womb. If a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus pregnancy begins. If the monthly egg is not fertilized, menstrual flow occurs from the uterus

Vagina: The canal that leads from the outer opening in a woman's reproductive system to the mouth of the cervix

PAP Smear