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Cancer Cytology: Overview of the Cancer Cytology Unit

The Cancer Cytology program at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) began in 1948 and has continuously provided diagnostic screening for Gyn cytology examinations. The Cancer Cytology unit uses the ThinPrep® method for diagnostic screening. This service is available only to local health departments and their affiliated clinics, as well as state–operated health facilities.

The Cancer Cytology Unit partners with other public health programs, including the Women’s and Children’s Health Section > Women’s Health Branch and the Chronic Disease and Injury Section > Breast and Cervical Cancer Control.

Normal Cells

Normal Cells

Abnormal Cells

Abnormal Cells

Abnormal Cells - Possible HPV

Abnormal Cells-Possible HPV

(Photos: Cancer Cytology Unit; May 2014)

The Importance of the Cancer Cytology Unit

The objective of Cancer Cytology screening is to prevent morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer. The Pap test, when combined with a regular program of screening and appropriate follow-up, can reduce cervical cancer deaths by up to 80 percent.

In 2008, the Cancer Cytology Unit began offering Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing to the test menu. Following guidelines from the American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP), HPV testing is recommended for: reflex testing on patients 21 years and older with Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance (ASC-US) and co-testing with Gyn Cytology on patients 30 – 65 years of age. 

SLPH Cancer Cytology Information