Cytopathology (Non-Gynecological)
Decrease FontIncrease FontPrintPrint

Lab procedures and information specific for Cytology

Cytopathology involves the examination of cells that spontaneously exfoliate or are removed from tissues by abrasion or fine needle aspiration for the presence of any abnormalities or disease. 

Sample collection instructions

Patients collecting their own samples should follow the instructions found on the Patient Test Instructions page.

Medical professionals should follow these specific sample collection and handling instructions according to the sample type on page 2 of the Cytology Consultation Request form.

Type of fixative used is dependent on the where the sample will be processed:   

  • IH locations west of Salmon Arm
  • All remaining IH locations
    • Samples sent to Kelowna General Hospital for processing
    • Require Cytolyt® as the fixative
      • Samples sent to Royal Inland Hospital for processing
      • Require 50% ethyl alcohol as the fixative 

Requisition and sample labelling

Cytology testing can only be requested by using the Cytology Consultation Request form. Cytology testing is not orderable through the hospital computer system. A properly completed request form MUST accompany each properly labelled sample container.

Information on the request form and the patient identification label must match exactly. Discrepancies will require the collector to make the appropriate corrections prior to any sample processing. All samples will be evaluated for suitability based on the IH Lab Sample Acceptability Criteria.

Be sure to apply the identification label to the sample container, not the lid.
Required label information:
  • Patient’s first and last name
  • Minimum of one of the following additional patient identifiers: Date of birth, PHN or MRN
  • Sample type
  • Sample site

Direct smears/slides: 

  •  Must be labeled on the frosted end with patient’s first and last name, Personal Health Number, and exact sample collection site (include date of birth if adequate space)
  • Include additional identifiers (i.e. date of birth, date of collection) on the transport container and requisition
  •  Slides submitted from more than one site must indicate the exact sample collection site on each
  •  Use pencil when labelling the slides as ink will disappear during processing

All samples will be evaluated for suitability based on the IH Lab Sample Acceptability Criteria.  Inadequately labelled samples, requisitions with incomplete information, and discrepancies between the information on the sample label and requisition will require investigation. In some cases, a physician or other individual responsible for the sample collection will be required to make the corrections before processing can begin.

Laboratory Fine Needle Aspirate Biopsy Request:
  • For patients with superficial/palpable lesions, complete the Laboratory Fine Needle Aspirate Biopsy Request form
  • For patients with non-palpable lesions, biopsies can be booked by using the Medical Imaging Form #826068

Contact us

For additional cytology information or questions please contact one of the following:

​Phone ​Fax
KGH Cytology ​250-862-4300 x7509 ​250-862-4051
RIH Cytology ​250-314-2100 x2692 250-314-2505



MoH     PCQO