Pap Test: Classification of Cell Changes
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.
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