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Celebrate, Women!

This is National Women’s Health Week, a perfect time to highlight and celebrate a major breakthrough in women’s long-term health: the Pap smear.

Dr. George Papanicolaou came up with the idea of Pap smears in 1928, hence the name. Incidence of and deaths from cervical cancer have decreased by half in the years since.

Methods of cervical cancer screening have also improved. Dr. Papanicolaou’s original Pap smear required vaginal cells be smeared on a slide. Now doctors are using more sensitive liquid-based cervical cytology—the cells collected are put in a liquid--no smearing required.

We have also made great strides in pin-pointing the cause of cervical cancer. We now know most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). And vaccines are available to protect us.

There is good reason to celebrate! We’ve come a long way!