Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear

George N. PAPANICOLAOU

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“INSTRUMENTAL IN GAINING CLINICAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE SMEAR AS A MEANS OF CANCER DIAGNOSIS”: PRESENTATION COPY OF DIAGNOSIS OF UTERINE CANCER BY THE VAGINAL SMEAR, INSCRIBED BY PAPANICOLAOU

PAPANICOLAOU, George N., and TRAUT, Herbert F. Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear. New York: The Commonwealth Fund, 1943. Slim quarto, original blue cloth.

First edition of this important monograph on cancer detection, with 11 pages of color plates depicting hundreds of uterine cells, inscribed: “to Dr. Leon F. Whitney, the man whose friendship has always been a source of inspiration to me, George N. Papanicolaou.”

This volume expands on the research first published by Papanicolaou and gynecologist Traut in a 1941 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Garrison & Morton 6135). Papanicolaou, who received his medical degree from the University of Athens and who served in the medical corps of the Greek army during the Balkan War, immigrated to the U.S., where “in 1913 [he] was appointed assistant in the pathology department of New York Hospital, and in 1914 he became assistant in anatomy at Cornell Medical College. Until 1961 he conducted all of his scientific research, devoted almost exclusively to the physiology of reproduction and exfoliative cytology, at these two affiliated institutions, each of which named a laboratory in his honor… Papanicolaou is best known for his development of the technique, eponymically termed the Papanicolaou smear, or ‘Pap test,’ for the cytologic diagnosisof cancer, especially cancer of the uterus—second only to the breast as the site of origin of fatal cancers in women… Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear encompassed a variety of physiologic and pathologic states, including the menstrual cycle, puerperium, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, prepuberty, menopause, amenorrhea, endometrial hyperplasia, vaginal and cervical infections, and 179 cases of uterine cancer (127 cervical and 52 corporeal). The work was instrumental in gaining clinical acceptance of the smear as a means of cancer diagnosis, for superficial lesions could thus be detected in their incipient, preinvasive phase, before the appearance of any symptoms” (DSB X:291-92). Whitney was a noted veterinarian, dog breeder, the author of several dog care books, and an early proponent of eugenics.

Interior fine; light rubbing to cloth extremities. A near-fine copy.

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