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SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Smear test equipment. Doctor holding a duck-billed speculum (left) and cytobrush (right) used to perform a ThinPrep smear test. The speculum is inserted into the patient's vagina and opened out, widening the passage. This allows a sample of cells to be taken from the cervix (neck of the womb) using the cytobrush. The sample is then placed in a preservative solution and sent to a laboratory for examination. Abnormal cells may indicate cervical disease or cancer. This is a new technique (previously samples were spread straight onto a slide) that returns fewer contaminated or incorrect results. Cervical cancer is almost 100% curable when detected early.
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