Pap Smear Abnormalities
Precancerous changes of the outer (squamous) cells of the cervix have the potential to turn into cancer if left untreated. In the cervix these precancerous changes are called ‘Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia’ or CIN for short.
There are different grades of CIN according to how severe the changes are, from CIN1 minor change referred to as Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (LSIL) to CIN 2 and CIN 3 referred to as High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (HSIL).
The risk of CIN1 developing into cancer is very small, however we know that CIN2 and CIN3 may develop into cancer in some cases, if left untreated.
There is a rare abnormality called ‘Cervical Glandular Intraepithelial Neoplasia’ and this is the same sort of precancerous change involving the inner glandular cells of the cervix.
ASCUS (Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance) is the diagnosis made when the doctors unable to distinguish on Pap smear how abnormal the cells are. The abnormal cells may have features of CIN 1, 2 or 3 or they may be caused by an infection in the vagina, but these features are not specific enough to make a particular diagnosis. In such cases, further testing such as colposcopy is indicated.