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East African Medical Journal

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A comparision of modified and standard papanicolaou staining methods in the assessment of cervical smears at Kenyatta National Hospital

RN Gachie, LW Muchiri, JR Ndungu

Abstract


Background: Invasive carcinoma of the cervix is one of the most common cancers in the world and it is preventable by screening methods. The traditional screening method is the Pap smear. As practiced conventionally Pap stain is expensive utilising a considerable amount of alcohol and consumes a lot of time.
Objective: To compare modified and standard Papanicolaou (Pap) staining methods in the assessment of the cervical smears.
Design: A descriptive cross sectional study.
setting: Kenyatta National Hospital.
Subjects: One hundred and sixty two women who were eligible for a pap smear and met the inclusion criteria.
Results: The study showed that the modified Papanicolaou method took three minutes and the standard Papanicolaou method took 20 minutes to stain each bunch of slides. The cost of alcohol used per smear was Ksh 18.50 and Ksh 123.45 per smear in the modified pap method and standard Papanicolaou method respectively. The staining characteristics in the modified method were better than the standard method and there was no compromise in the diagnosis.
Conclusions: The modified Pap staining method is simple, low cost and better in the staining of the cervical smears and can therefore be used as alternative to the standard Pap method in the screening for cervical cancer.



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