Papa of the Pap Smear — Georgios Papanikolaou

Today on Google's home page is a special Doodle, Google logo, for Georgios Papanikolaou.

Despite first reporting that Pap smears are an effective way to detect cancer early in 1928, his findings were not widely recognized until they were published in the book Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear in 1943.

Papanikolaou has previously featured on stamps of the US Postal Service and was the face on the Greek 10,000 drachma banknote from 1995 to 2001. During the short and simple test, a doctor gently inserts a speculum into the vagina to hold the vaginal walls apart and expose the cervix before using a soft brush and flat scraping device to painlessly swab cervical cells.

Papanikolaou started medical school at age 15, and after graduation served as an army surgeon in the Balkan wars.

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The Greek scientist moved to Miami, Florida, in 1961. The couple initially struggled to make a living-Georgios sold carpets and played violin in restaurants and Mary sewed buttons for $5 a week-until he was recruited as a researcher at Cornell University.

The couples' scientific breakthrough came after recruiting a group of close friends to participate in a study for their research, which involved undergoing Pap smears. But while you'd be hard pressed to find any woman super stoked to receive a cervical cancer screener known as the Pap smear (or Pap test), learning about the procedure's game-changing introduction into modern medicine might give you a newfound appreciation for its significance. The Pap smear is still used across the world for early detection of cancer, though in recent times some countries, such as Australia, use a method that no longer requires creation of a smear and instead looks at one of the root causes of cervical cancer: human papillomavirus. Papanikolaou received the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Research in 1950, appeared on the Greek 10,000 drachma bank note and appeared on a USA postage stamp in 1978. He wished to develop the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute at the University of Miami, which he did not accomplish.

Google Doodle's tribute was done on May 13, 2019, which would have marked his 136th birthday.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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