Study of exfoliated squamous cells from the uterine tract in health and in disease opens up weirdly fascinating and provocative avenues of approach to cancer research.
It seems important at the outset to differentiate between the "diagnosis of early cervical cancer" and the term "early diagnosis of clinical, cervical cancer." There is evidence tending to prove that early cancer is a microscopic and preclinical entity, whereas one usually thinks of cervical cancer as a clinical entity. Early clinical cancer is a rare finding It is most seldom that one sees such a thing in gynecologic practice, and there seems to be a big gap between the so-called normal cervix and clinical, cervical carcinoma, which is still such a formidable disease.
The detection of cells with atypical nuclear structure scraped from clinically normal cervices leads to the belief that even though the epithelial surface may be intact, metabolic changes are taking
AYRE JE. CERVICAL CYTOLOGY IN DIAGNOSIS OF EARLY CANCER. JAMA. 1948;136(8):513-517. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890250001001