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George Papanicolaou

AKA Georgios Nicolas Papanicolaou

Born: 13-May-1883
Birthplace: Kimi, Greece
Died: 19-Feb-1962
Location of death: Miami, FL
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Riverside Cemetery, Clinton, NJ

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Pap smear

Military service: Greek Army (1911-13, 2nd Lt.)

Pathologist George Papanicolaou discovered in 1928 that uterine cancer could be detected by microscopically examining cells from tissue surfaces scraped off the interior of the vagina. It took decades for medical science to recognize the significance of Papanicolaou's test, now commonly called a pap test or pap smear, which provides for quick, early detection of cervical and uterine cancer. The American Medical Association began recommending annual pap smears for women in 1960, and Dr Papanicolaou died only two years later, before the efficacy of pap smears was widely known. Since his test became routine, the rate of cervical cancer in North America has dropped by about 70%, and the lives of millions of women have been extended. Papanicolaou also studied the menstrual cycles of guinea pigs, played an indirect but key role in the discovery of estrogen and progesterone, and developed an improved test for detecting stomach cancer.

Father: Nicolas Papanicolaou (physician)
Mother: Maria
Wife: Andromachque Mavroyeni Papanicolaou ("Mary")

    Medical School: MD, University of Athens (1904)
    University: PhD Zoology, University of Munich (1910)
    Scholar: Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium of Monaco (1910-11)
    Teacher: Anatomy, Cornell University (1913-55)
    Professor: Anatomy, Cornell University (1955-61)
    Professor: Cancer Research, University of Miami Florida (1961-62)

    Lasker Award 1950
    Naturalized US Citizen 1928
    Greek Ancestry

Author of books:
Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear (1943, with Herbert Traut)
Atlas of Exfoliative Cytology (1954)

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