Date: 29 Oct 2012

Establishing a cytology laboratory in a low-resource setting for cervical cancer screening

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Against the background of the substantial burden of cervical cancer in low- and middleincome countries and the well-established and efficient Papanicolaou (Pap) smear screening as a preventive measure against this cancer, we set up a cytology laboratory in a jungle hospital in South India for indigenous people living under poor economic and hygienic conditions who may be prone to the development of these cancerous lesions.

Methods and Results

We describe the required materials and method that were successfully applied to establish such a laboratory under such basic conditions. This includes a modified Pap staining method which saves 11 steps (one-third) and ethanol compared with the standard Pap staining procedure. Additionally, three doctors at the hospital were trained in reading the cytological Pap smears over 7 weeks, and the trainees passed an examination according to the requirements of the International Academy of Cytology. The results in the first 160 screened women are presented and discussed.


We believe that our experience might provide useful guidelines for equivalent tasks.