Effie goes to her local GP for a repeat prescription for a contraceptivepill. The GP checks her blood pressure and notices that she has not had a Pap smear for 2 years.
The GP performs a Pap smear and sends the smear to the pathology laboratory for assessment by an Anatomical Pathologist.
The Pap smear is received at the lab where it is stained so that the cells can be carefully analysed under the microscope.
A scientist initially screens the slide looking for atypical (abnormal) cells. (There are 50,000 to 100,000 cells on each smear). The screener finds some abnormal cells and refers the smear to the Anatomical Pathologist.
The Pathologist looks at the slide under the microscope and diagnoses a low-grade abnormality, which if not detected early would have progressed to cancer, and reports this to the GP.
Effie's doctor will discuss the situation with her so that the exact nature and extent of the abnormality can be established, and treatment considered.