Cytotechnology

Cytotechnology

[sahy-toh-tek-nol-uh-jee]
Cytotechnology is the microscopic interpretation of cells to detect cancer and other abnormalities. This includes the examination of samples collected from the uterine cervix (Pap test), lung, gastrointestinal tract or body cavities.

Cytotechnologists are allied health professionals trained in cytotechnology; they evaluate specimens on glass slides using microscopes. While computer technologies perform an initial evaluation, the cytotechnologist performs the secondary evaluation and determines whether a specimen is normal or abnormal. Abnormal specimens are referred to a pathologist for final interpretation.

Different countries have different certification requirements and standards for cytotechnologists. In the United States, after earning a baccalaureate degree, individuals attend an accredited program in cytotechnology for 1 or 2 years, and are then eligible to take a certification exam offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The American Society for Cytotechnology sets U.S. professional standards, monitors legislative and regulatory issues, and provides education.

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