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Home > Wellness > Health Library > 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 cervical cell changes are
Minor cervical cell changes found during a Pap test may be
Minor cervical cell changes may:
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.
December 12, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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