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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Screening for anal neoplasia: anal cytology – sampling, processing and reporting

Teresa M. Darragh A C and Barbara Winkler B

A UCSF Mt. Zion Medical Center, Departments of Pathology and Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, 1600 Divisadero Street, Room B618, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.

B Department of Pathology, Mount Kisco Medical Group, 110 South Bedford Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: teresa.darragh@ucsf.edu

Sexual Health 9(6) 556-561 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH12003
Submitted: 9 January 2012  Accepted: 1 May 2012   Published: 20 August 2012

Abstract

Anorectal cytology (ARC) is increasingly accepted as a valid screening tool for the diagnosis of squamous intraepithelial lesions in populations at increased risk for anal cancer. As with cervical cancer screening protocols, proper patient preparation, specimen collection and specimen processing are essential for obtaining an optimal cytological sample. With attention and experience, the clinician can collect the best possible ARC specimen for laboratory evaluation. The incorporation of repeated interval anal cytology into standard surveillance practices for high-risk individuals is a valuable tool for the early detection of human papillomavirus-related anal squamous epithelial lesions and the prevention of anal squamous cell carcinomas.


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