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Cervical Cell Changes on a Pap Test

Table of Contents


Overview

Cervical cell changes are classified according to their degree of abnormality using the Bethesda system (TBS). Further evaluation decisions are guided by the kinds of changes seen in the cells.

Minor cell changes

Minor cervical cell changes are also called:

Minor cervical cell changes found during a Pap test may be caused by:

Minor cervical cell changes may:

Moderate to severe cell changes

Moderate to severe cervical cell changes (also called moderate to severe dysplasia) mean cell changes that are more likely to be precancerous and develop into cervical cancer if left untreated. Moderate to severe cervical cell changes are classified in the Bethesda system (TBS) as high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) or atypical glandular cells (AGC). Follow-up evaluation and treatment is needed.

All abnormal Pap tests require follow-up to identify development of more severe cell changes, including cervical cancer. Most abnormal cells can be removed or destroyed before they become cancerous.


Credits for Cervical Cell Changes on a Pap Test

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology


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