Monday, May 13, 2019

The Pap Smear

Image result for pap smearEnvironmental & Science Education
Nature of Science
History of Science
Edward Hessler

Today marks the 136th year of the birthday of Dr. Georgios Papanikolaou who developed the life-saving cervical cancer test, aka the Pap smear or Pap test.

In honor of this contribution to medicine and women's health, today's Google Doodle shows him with his microscope and some cells. 

Here is an excellent article about him and his wife. It is in list format so it is easily and quickly read. There are two videos embedded, one of his life and the other of a self-screening program. A few highlights of a remarkable career.

--In 1898, aged only 15, he managed to get into the School of Medicine of the National University of Athens and, after graduation, he worked in the military as an assistant surgeon for a short time. In 1904, he graduated with top honours. 

--In October 1914, Papanikolaou was recruited as a researcher at Cornell University, he would work there for the next 47 years.

--He devoted his entire time to research on early cancer diagnosis through recovery and identification of exfoliated cancer cells.

--The first time Papanikolaou identified the cancerous cell in a sample from a woman with cervical cancer, he confessed it was one of the most important experiences of his career.

--In 1961, despite the fact that he was 78 years old, he decided to leave New York and settle in Miami. He planned to undertake the organisation and management of the Miami Cancer Institute.

--However, he did not have the chance to inaugurate the institute himself, he died suddenly of a heart attack on February 19, 1962. The institute was renamed the Papanikolaou Cancer Research Institute in his honour.

--Mary, his wife, continued his work in Miami until her death in 1982.

--One of the most important examples (of his work) is the famous Atlas of Exfoliative Cytology. The book is considered by many a milestone in the science of cytology.   

And for access to the Google Doodle see this link

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