Cytology is the study of individual cells to find abnormal cells. Used extensively to diagnose cancer, cytology is also used in screening for fetal abnormalities and in diagnosing infectious organisms.
The cells to be examined may be obtained through the following methods:
- Scraping or brushing the tissue surface
- Body fluids
- Fine-needle aspirations (removing cells by drawing them through a fine needle)
Cytology is different from histology, which is the study of grouping of cells that form tissues.