• Screening test
    • can detect squamous dysplasia and cancer
    • can evaluate patient's sex hormones
      • superficial squamous cells
        • indicates full mucosal surface maturation and therefore the presence of estrogen
        • high estrogen without progesterone results in 100% superficial squamous cells
      • intermediate squamous cells
        • indicates presence of progesterone
        • high progesterone in pregnancy results in 100% intermediate cells
      • parabasal cells
        • indicates lack of estrogen and progesterone
        • seen in elderly women
  • Process
    • must sample transition zone between endo (columnar) and exo (squamous) cervix 
    • smear must show presence of columnar cells to prove that transition zone was reached

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