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Cytopathology. 2004 Feb;15(1):53-7.

Cytopathology in Slovenia.

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Department of Cytopathology, Institute of Oncology, Zaloska, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Cytopathology started in Slovenia in the early 50s with exfoliative cytology, while fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) was introduced some 10 years later. Today cytopathology is a well accepted diagnostic method in Slovenia and there are currently 20 cytopathological laboratories and 17 cytopathologists. The number of specimens examined in 2001 was 26 230 FNABs, 13 355 exfoliative non cervical and 323 888 cervical smears. FNABs are performed by cytopathologists, by clinical doctors and by radiologists. So far only the cytopathologists have a supervised training period in performing biopsies. In future the same requirement will be obligatory for non pathologists. In four laboratories immunocytochemistry is used as an ancillary technique to morphology and one laboratory is using also flow cytometry for immunophenotyping of lymphomas. The classification system used in Slovenia for reporting the findings in cervical cytology is a combination of Papanicolaou's classification and assessment of dyskariosis. In spite of a long tradition in opportunistic screening for cervical cancer (Cca) an organised screening programme was started late. A four year pilot study, which included one third of the women population of Slovenia, was concluded in 2002 and an organised screening programme was introduced to the whole country in 2003. The incidence rate of Cca in Slovenia has been rising slowly since 1994 and it reached 19.6/100 000 in the year 2000. The mortality rate has remained roughly constant at 5-7/100 000 for the last 20 years. During the last few years quality assurance measures have been taken for improving the performance in cervical cytology.

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