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The Bethesda System For Reporting Cervical Cytology: A Historical Perspective

Ritu Nayar, David C. Wilbur

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The aims of The Bethesda System (TBS) were to provide effective communication from the laboratory to the clinical provider; facilitate cytologic-histologic correlation; facilitate research into the epidemiology, biology, and pathology of cervical disease; and provide reproducible and reliable data for national and international statistical analysis comparisons. Dr. Diane Solomon and colleagues' contribution to cervical cancer screening, diagnosis, and management began with the inception and dissemination of TBS for reporting cervical cytology in 1988, as detailed in the accompanying article [Solomon et al.: Acta Cytol 1989;33:567-574]. The significance of TBS for the further development and implementation of standardized terminology in pathology, and the research/management of cervical cancer have continued to evolve over the past three decades. TBS has always been a multidisciplinary effort and acknowledgement needs to be given to several stakeholders who, over the years, have contributed to its success. It has been our privilege and honor to have carried on the legacy of this seminal work, even as molecular methods are being closely integrated into cervical cancer screening, triage, and prevention.