Precancerous Conditions of Cervix and Early Cervical Cancers

Precancerous conditions of the cervix and early cervical cancers are changes to cervical cells that develop into cancer. However if left untreated for an extended period, these abnormal changes may cause cervical cancer.

Usually, it develops in an area called the transformation zone where columnar cells get transformed into squamous cells. This process makes the cells more sensitive to the effect of the HPV.

Symptoms of precancerous changes in the cervix

Precancerous conditions of the cervix usually do not cause signs or symptoms. One of the main features of cervical cancer is its slow progression from normal cervical tissue to precancerous changes in the cervix to invasive cancer. An abnormal result of the Pap test is often the first sign of unusual cervical health that. That’s why it’s important to have regular Pap tests.

A Pap test is used to screen for precancerous conditions of the cervix and early cervical cancer. The Pap test result can be normal or abnormal. A normal Pap test result means that no abnormal or cancerous cells were found. An abnormal Pap test result says that you have a precancerous condition.

Types of precancerous conditions

Pre-cervical conditions are described on how abnormal cells appear under the microscope and how severe the changes in the cells are. They are categorised from an unusual cell type.

Abnormal Squamous Cells

Most doctors use the Bethesda reporting system to determine changes to the squamous cells in the cervix, which refers to as Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (SIL). Other reporting systems describe abnormal changes in the squamous cells relate to as Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) and cervical dysplasia.

SILs are divided into high grade and low grade, whereas CIN is classified into class 1, 2 or 3.

  • Low-grade SIL (LSIL) – LSIL is similar to CIN 1 and can only affect cells on the surface of the lining of the cervix or close to it. In this situation, the changes are very mild and look slightly different than the normal cells.
  • High-grade SIL (HSIL) – HSIL is similar to CIN 2 and CIN 3 and can affect cells very profoundly. The changes are moderate to severe and are considered as more abnormal cells.There are distinct changes in the shape and size of the cells. The higher the grade, the higher the risk of cervical cancer.

Abnormal Glandular Cells

The other type of precancerous condition is referred to as Adenocarcinoma InSitu (AIS) and Atypical Glandular Cells (AGC). These are the changes in the glandular cells in the cervix. Specialists use the Bethesda reporting system to describe both the glandular cell abnormalities.

  • Adenocarcinoma In Situ (AIS) – When there is a presence of pre-invasive cancer cells, it is referred to as AIS. This means the cancer cells have not spread into the deeper layers of the cervix.
  • Atypical Glandular Cells (AGC) – When the cells do not appear normal, it is referred to as AGC. Any changes in the cells are connected to a higher risk of developing cancer or may mean that there is underlying cancer.

Risk factors of precancerous conditions

One of the significant risk factors for precancerous changes in the cervix and early cervical cancer is infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Furthermore, if you smoke and have a weak immune system, the chances of developing precancerous changes in the cervix become more.

Diagnosis

If the Pap test shows the abnormal result, the specialists may order more tests to diagnose precancerous changes in the cervix and early cervical cancer including,

  • Another Pap test after six months to check if there are any mild changes
  • A colposcopy exam and biopsy of any abnormal-looking areas
  • An HPV test that can sometimes be done on a sample of cervical cells taken during the Pap test
  • An endocervical curettage that removes cells from the endocervical canal and is usually done simultaneously with colposcopy

Treatments

Most women who are treated for precancerous cervical conditions have an excellent result. It is difficult to predict which one will become invasive cervical cancer, so specialists recommend treating them as soon as they are being diagnosed.

Treatment options for precancerous conditions in the cervix and early cervical cancer include:

  • Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) or Cone Biopsy Procedure: In this procedure, a loop of thin wire is used to remove abnormal cells from the cervix. The loop of wire is heated up and it acts as a scalpel to remove the cells.
  • Laser Surgery: In this procedure, a laser is used to make a bloodless incision in the cells to remove or destroy tumors or abnormal cells.
  • Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery or cryoablation uses extremely cold carbon dioxide or liquid nitrogen to freeze or kill abnormal cells.
  • Hysterectomy: It is a type of surgery used to treat precancerous conditions of the cervix when other treatments fail to address them.

At Motherhood, our doctors recommend the best treatment option after evaluating many factors. They prefer to perform a series of tests and procedure and a collaboration with the other specialists to ensure that you receive the best comprehensive care. Our highly qualified team provides you with expert guidance before and after the treatment.

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