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October 16, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Laboratory of the Vincent Memorial Hospital (the Gynecological Service of the Massachusetts General Hospital).

JAMA. 1948;138(7):469-474. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900070001001

Until the cause or causes of cancer are discovered, the only way cancer can be controlled is by early diagnosis and the consequent eradication of the malignant lesion at its inception. In the majority of cancers early diagnosis is not now possible. How is the physician to suspect, much less perform a biopsy of, a symptomless cancer of the stomach or lung which cannot be visualized? How shall one suspect cancer of the cervix in the presence of a grossly normal organ and before abnormal bleeding? In many parts of the body malignant lesions present for months or even years may be attended by their first clinical symptom only after invasion or metatasis has taken place.

Because of its recognized value and in order to check its misuse we propose to outline the present status of the cytologic method of cancer diagnosis. We believe that in certain regions of the

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Papanicolaou, G. N.:  A General Survey of theVaginal Smear and Its Use in Research and Diagnosis ,  Am. J. Obst. & Gynec , 51: 316-328, 1946.
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Papanicolaou, G. N.:  The Sexual Cycle in the Human Female as Revealed by Vaginal Smears ,  Am. J. Anat. ( (supp.) ) 52:519-637, 1933.
Papanicolaou, G. N., and Traut, H. F.:  The Diagnostic Value of Vaginal Smears in Carcinoma of the Uterus ,  Am. J. Obst. & Gynec. 42: 193-206, 1941.
(a) Meigs, J. V.; Graham, R. M.; Fremont-Smith, M.; Kapnick, I., and Rawson, R. W.:  The Value of the Vaginal Smear in the Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer ,  Surg., Gynec. & Obst. 77:449-461, 1943.
Meigs. J. V.; Graham, R. M.; Fremont-Smith, M.; Janzen, L. T., and Nelson, C. B.:  The Value of the Vaginal Smear in the Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer ,  Surg., Gynec. & Obst. 81:337-345, 1945.
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Kraushaar, O. F.: Personal communication to the authors.
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Herbut, P. A.: Personal communication to the authors.
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Woolner, J. B.: Personal communication to the authors.
Young, H. H.:  The Cure of Cancer of the Prostate by Radical Perinial Prostatectomy ,  J. Urol. 53:188-256, 1945.
Herbut, P. A.: Personal communication to the authors.
Welch, C. E., and Allen, A. W.:  Carcinoma of the Stomach ,  New England J. Med. 238:583-589, 1948.Crossref
Papanicolaou, G. N.:  Diagnostic Value of Exfoliated Cells from Cancerous Tissues ,  J. A. M. A. 131:372-378 ( (June 1) ) 1946.Crossref
Papanicolaou, G. N., and Cooper, W. A.:  The Cytology of the Gastric Fluid in the Diagnosis of Carcinoma of the Stomach ,  J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 7:357-360, 1947.
Hunter and Richardson ( Cytologic Recognition of Cancer in Exfoliated Material from Various Sources [Useful Modifications of the Papanicolaou Technique] ,  Surg., Gynec. & Obst. 85: 275-280, 1947) embedded and sectioned sediments of many body fluids.
Graham, R. M.; Ulfelder, H., and Green, T. H., Jr.:  The Cytologic Method as an Aid in the Diagnosis of Gastric Carcinoma ,  Surg., Gynec. & Obst. 86:257-259, 1948.