Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital announces new pap smear service

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital has announced the introduction of a new service, “liqui prep- Pap Smears” more formally known as Liquid based cytology- LBC – where samples are collected via use of a cytobrush.

The hospital is also now offering HPV co-test simultaneously.

“We are the first institution in Guyana to offer this modern pap smear analysis technique with results in three days,” the hospital said in a statement.

A pap smear is a technique whereby a smear (sample slide) is prepared from cells that are being shed normally from the “mouth of the womb” (the cervix). These cells are studied for pre-cancerous and cancerous changes in order to aid early detection and subsequent treatment as necessary.

The new liqui prep pap smear has many advantages; it is a faster and more efficient method, provides more accurate interpretation, less obscuring materials such as blood, mucous, inflammatory cells in smears and the use of residual cell suspension for testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA immunohistochemistry is available if needed. The results for these tests would be available in three days.

The incidence of cervical cancer worldwide is second only to breast cancer and accounts for approximately 75% of all recorded cases in the developing countries .Since the 1940s the conventional cervical smear technique (collected with a spatula) has been used for screening of cervical cancer but because of high false-negative rates due to sampling errors, presence of obscuring materials, screening and interpretation errors ,in addition to morphologic changes due to radiotherapy in patients with recurrent disease the interpretation of conventional Pap test results has been extremely difficult.

Cancer of the cervix is unique in a few ways. Firstly, the pre-cancerous stage is easily detected if one undergoes regular Pap smears and secondly, cancer of the cervix has been linked to Human papilloma virus infection (HPV).

This has led to cancer of the cervix being equated to a sexually transmitted disease. This fact has also led to the development of the HPV vaccine which is also widely known as the “Cervical Cancer vaccine”.

Given this fact it is important to note that liquid prep pap smears also facilitate a one-step test used to diagnose HPV infection. It is advised to do PAP testing every three years for women 21- 65 yrs old or every five years if combined with HPV co-test.

January is cervical cancer awareness month, and we encourage all women to educate themselves on prevention and early detection of Cancer of the cervix and its pre-cancerous stages.

As we have done in many areas in the past, we are happy to pioneer this technique in Guyana with an unbeatable turnaround time of three days.