Menu   WellSpan Health

Health Library

Health Library


What is cytology?

Cytology is the examination of a single cell type, as often found in fluid specimens. It's mainly used to diagnose or screen for cancer. It's also used to screen for fetal abnormalities, for pap smears, to diagnose infectious organisms, and other screening and diagnostic areas.

The cells to be examined may be taken through the following methods:

  • Scraping or brushing the tissue surface

  • Body fluids

  • Fine-needle aspirations (removing cells by drawing them through a fine needle)

  • Other types of tissue biopsy 

Cytology is different from histology. Cytology generally involves looking at a single cell type. Histology is the examination of an entire block of tissue. 

Cytology - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Last Review Date: 2014-10-06T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2014-10-09T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2014-10-09T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.