Janet Elizabeth Macgregor

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 08 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1410

Pioneer of cervical screening

Betty Macgregor was the cytologist who made northeast Scotland the United Kingdom's first centre for systematic cervical screening. It was because of her published results that screening was taken up throughout the UK. She published important papers on many aspects of screening, including cervical cytology, the epidemiology of cervical cancer, improving the prognosis, cost effectiveness, cervical abnormalities in various subgroups of women, and the problems of false negative results. Her booklet Taking Uterine Cervical Smears (1982), published by the British Society of Clinical Cytology, sold 25 000 copies.

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Betty McPherson was born in Glasgow in 1920. When she was 7 her mother died from tuberculosis. Betty studied medicine at Glasgow University during the second world war, qualifying in 1943. She met Alastair Macgregor there, and they married a year later. She did her house jobs at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Western General Hospital.

During the next few years she raised …

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