The annual Papanicolaou test

Women's safety and public policy


  • Terence J. Colgan M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Section of Gynaecological Pathology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Room 600-18, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 1X5
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Fax: (416) 586-8628

  • R. Marshall A. Austin M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Cytopathology and Gynecologic Pathology Services, Coastal Pathology Laboratories, Charleston, South Carolina
    2. Department of Pathology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Dr. Austin has served as a consultant (without personal compensation) to AutoCyte, Cytyc, Morphometrix, Neopath, and Neuromedical Sciences, Inc.

  • Diane D. Davey M.D.

    1. Department of Cytopathology, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky
    2. Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Dr. Colgan has been a consultant with Quality Management Program-Laboratory Services of Ontario, MDS Laboratories, and Morphometrix, and has been a principal investigator with AutoCyte and Neuropath.


Although modeling and scientific studies have confirmed the benefit of the annual Papanicolaou test, potential harm and cost-effectiveness remain outstanding issues.