Taking better Pap smears
Even under the best of circumstances, screening is an inherently difficult process, fraught with potential errors of either nonrecognition of serious disease or mistaken recall of healthy individuals. In the field of cervical cytology these difficulties are readily amplified by any imperfections in the clinical technique of Pap smear collection. The NHMRC’s Guidelines for the management of women with screen detected abnormalities presents an organised approach to screening for cervical cancer and evidence-based guidelines for evaluating and managing women with abnormalities detected by the screening program. This article reviews the steps necessary to ensure optimal smear collection.