Cytology is the study of individual cells (excluding blood cells).

The Cytology service assists in the diagnosis of cancers, especially cervical cancer. Dr. Salih Ibrahim is the Lead Consultant and Behdad Shambayati the Clinical Cytologist/Lead BMS.

Cytology has 28 staff and have opportunities for trained and untrained lab staff as well as clerical staff.

Please check the NHS Jobs website for the latest information on Pathology jobs.

A Day in the Life ...
A Day in the Life of a Biomedical Scientist in Cytopathology

Work starts at 9:00 a.m. and I spend the best part of the morning screening cervical smears. This job needs quiet and concentration as my results will decide any further follow-up the patient may need. I have to decide if the smear is negative or positive i.e. pre-cancerous. If it is positive it then goes to a consultant or advanced practitioner for reporting.

In the afternoon I will assist in the many varied activities including non-gynaecological preparation. This entails preparation and staining of slides made from various body fluids i.e. urine, pleural fluid, bronchial washings and ascitic fluids to name but a few. These are prepared separately and each has a specific method and staining technique. When the slides are stained they are then taken to a consultant for diagnosis. We are looking for carcinomas, metastases, inflammation, infection etc.

We also offer seminology, which is the microscopical examination of semen for post vasectomy and infertility, and we often have to examine joint fluids for uric acid crystals which aids in the diagnosis of gout.

Another service we offer is the preparation and staining of slides from the FNA (fine needle aspiration) clinics. FNA’s can be taken from various sites including breast, thyroid, salivary glands and lymph nodes. We are called to a clinic or sometimes ultrasound department and asked to prepare the slides while the patient is still there. This method is particularly useful in the fast-track breast clinic. As the name suggests, the slides are prepared, stained and the taken to a consultant for rapid diagnosis. This enables the doctor to have a result in approximately 15 minutes.

In between all of this we also try to make time to do rapid re-screening of the morning cervical smears which is our method of in-lab quality control.

At 5:00 p.m. it’s time to go home and although we may have had an exhausting day we go home feeling good and knowing that we have played a major part in the management of the hospital patients.