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Exploring Pap Smear Effectiveness

Vital Information:

  • A new British study shows that the most common device used in the U.S. to collect cervical cells for a Pap smear, the Ayre's spatula, may not be the best.
  • An extended-tip spatula may be a better choice, because it reaches further into the cervix and thus gathers more cells.
  • Critics of the study argue that many U.S. physicians use a combination of devices that does result in a reliable reading. Also, they say the problem is not how to perform a Pap smear, but rather convincing women to have the routine examination.

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