Cytotechnology is an allied health profession that specializes in the microscopic evaluation of cellular samples for the detection and diagnosis of human disease. Using subtle clues in the cells themselves; cytotechnologists determine the presence or absence of specific diseases and determine which cases warrant further review by a pathologist. Generally, Cytotechnologists are involved in the diagnosis of cancer, precancerous lesions, benign tumors and infectious processes from a variety of body sites.
The Pap Test, a sample taken from the cervix, is the most common type of specimen submitted to a cytology laboratory. The goal of the Pap Test is to provide early detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix when treatment is most effective.
In addition to Pap Tests, samples from other body sites such as lung, bladder, liver, breast and thyroid are evaluated to determine or help rule out the presence of cancer, to define the nature of a specific cancer subtype and to monitor patients undergoing therapy.
Cytotechnologists are employed at the staff level in hospital and private laboratories, university medical centers and government facilities. With experience, positions are available at the supervisory, educational and administrative levels.
The profession of cytotechnology offers a significant and rewarding role in the health care arena. There are 45 cytotechnology educational programs in the United States, one of which is offered by Fletcher Allen Health Care. For more information call (802) 847-5133 or visit the School’s website:www.fahc.org/cytoschool.