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Light micrograph of normal superficial cells in a cervical smear. Superficial cells comprise the outer layer of the stratified squamous epithelium that lines the outer cervix and vagina. The cells are large and flat with small featureless nuclei (dark spots). Using Papanicolaou stain, most of the cells stain red (eosinophilic), some blue (cyanophilic). Cells of the underlying outer intermediate layer are of similar size, more often cyanophilic in their staining properties, with larger, more round nuclei. Cervical smears are obtained & examined to alert a doctor to the cellular changes that are associated with the development of cancer of the cervix.
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