100 years ago, cervical cancer reigned as the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States
Then, a doctor at Cornell University began conducting studies on the sex cycle of guinea pigs and in 1915 realized that a similar “smear” technique could be applied to the study of human vaginal cells. A few decades of disinterest and skepticism later, the Pap smear became the standard cancer screening test for women. Today, the cervical cancer death rate has plunged by more than 50 percent and ranks 14th in frequency in the United States.
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