This year UNESCO recognises the pioneering role of the Greek physician, biologist, and researcher, George Papanicolaou (1883 –1962) who said, “I only live to serve life”.
A statement that characterized the man himself and his research which, 50 years after his death, still continues to serve life today.
George Papanicolaou (sometimes referred to as "Dr Pap"), is the inventor of the Pap-test, an affordable medical examination with no complications, which is still used worldwide for the detection and prevention of cervical cancer and has saved the lives of millions of women worldwide. Up until his invention of the pap test (in the 1940’s) the cervical cancer of the uterus was the leading cause of death among women worldwide.
Today the pap test is a routine medical examination for women that can detect not only the cervical cancer of the uterus but also vaginal infections, abnormalities, some sexually transmitted diseases and lesions related to the Human Papilloma Virus or commonly known as HPV.
Further information including videos about the life and work of George Papanicolaou (courtesy of the Archives and Museum of the ERT, the Greek Public Broadcasting Corporation) can be found on the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO’s webpage. This month in New Zealand, it's Cervical Screening Awareness Month - find out more information on the National Screening Unit and why regular cervical smears are so important to women's health, here.