Cytology is the study of tissues and fluids at the cellular level. It includes the intricate details of the cells by examining their morphology which includes shape, size, nucleus etc. to determine the presence or absence of disease.

The origin of Cytology goes back to more than 300 years, when the English scientist Robert Hooke made the first observations of cells in 1665.

There are various types of cytological tests that can be performed such as the examination of surface impressions, preparations made from fluids such as body cavity fluids, sputum,urine, fluid from cystic lesions, cerebrospinal fluid and fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology.

Apart from being a diagnostic tool, cytology has a vastly expanding role in screening many cancers at a very early stage so that it can be treated well in advance, such as cervical cancer screening.This done by either conventional method or by Liquid based cytology.Liquid-based cytology is a recent advancing technique in which the sample is collected, normally by a small brush, in the same way as for a conventional smear test, but rather than the smear being transferred directly to a microscope slide, the sample is deposited into a small bottle of preservative liquid. At the laboratory the liquid is treated to remove other elements such as mucus before a layer of cells is placed on a slide. The technique allows more accurate results.

The ease of performing the procedure and diagnosing suspicious lumps, always gives a quick access to the ongoing process and decide whether it is malignant or not.

Effusions accumulating within body cavities such as pleural cavity (around the lung), peritoneal cavity (around the abdomen) or pericardial cavity (around the heart) because of a disease process, can be tapped and tested for presence of malignant cells. Cytology tests / specimen include the following:

• Body Fluids (Pleural, Peritoneal, Pericardial)
• Bronchial/CBD Brushings
• Bronchial Washings and broncheo-alveolar lavage(BAL)
• Cerebrospinal Fluid
• Cervico-Vaginal (Pap Tests) - Liquid-based PAP Collection (LBC)
• Fine Needle Aspirations (Deep Seated and Superficial Palpable)
• Skin Lesions or Direct Smears
• Sputum
• Urine All cytological investigations are conducted in adherence to procedures suggested by NABL and CAT.


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