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Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (Cervical Lesions, CIN)

Growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix. Numbers from 1 to 3 may be used to describe how abnormal the cells are and how much of the cervical tissue is involved.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

Cervical changes. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through abnormal changes called dysplasia. There are different types of dysplasia. Mild dysplasia, called low-grade intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) is one type. Moderate or severe dysplasia, called high-grade intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) is another type of dysplasia. LSIL and HSIL may or may not become cancer. Click to enlarge

The cervix and surrounding areas, and types of abnormal cells in the cervix National Institutes of Health

Infection with HPV Viruses Leading to Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN)

The body's immune system usually destroys the viruses relatively quickly on its own, without any health consequences. An infection typically lasts about eight months.

If the infection is not successfully fought off and the virus stays in the cells of the skin or mucous membranes, the affected tissue may start to change over time. In women, this most commonly occurs around the cervix, but it can also occur in the mucous membranes lining the vagina, although this is extremely rare.

These kinds of changes are called "dysplasia." There are three levels of severity: "low-grade dysplasia," "moderate dysplasia" and "high-grade dysplasia." Doctors often refer to these as "CIN" grades (CIN 1 to CIN 3). (More on the development of CIN.)
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Terms to know

Atypical Glandular Cells (AGC)
A finding of abnormal cells in a Pap test. The glandular cells come from the inner part of the cervix or the lining of the uterus. This finding may be a sign of cancer or other serious condition, and more testing may be needed.
Biopsy
A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body part, such as the colon or liver, is removed for examination with a microscope.
CIN-1 (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grade 1)
A condition in which slightly abnormal cells grow on the thin layer of tissue that covers the cervix. These abnormal cells are not malignant (cancer) but may become cancer.
CIN-2 (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grade 2)
A condition in which moderately abnormal cells grow on the thin layer of tissue that covers the cervix. These abnormal cells are not malignant (cancer) but may become cancer.
CIN-3 (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grade 3)
Abnormal cells are found in the innermost lining of the cervix. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue.
Cervical Cancer (Cervical Carcinoma)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina).
Cervix
The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.
Colposcopy
Examination of the vagina and cervix using a lighted magnifying instrument.
Cone Biopsy (Conization)
A procedure in which a cone-shaped piece of abnormal tissue is removed from the cervix.
Dysplasia
Cells that look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer.
High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (HSIL)
Cells of the uterine cervix that are moderately or severely abnormal and may become cancer. Also called HSIL.
Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV Infection)
A type of virus that can cause abnormal tissue growth (for example, warts) and other changes to cells. Infection for a long time with certain types of human papillomavirus can cause cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus may also play a role in some other types of cancer.
Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (LSIL)
A condition in which the cells of the uterine cervix are slightly abnormal. Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion is not cancer. Also called LSIL.
Mucosa (Mucous Membranes)
The moist, inner lining of some organs and body cavities (such as the nose, mouth, lungs, and stomach). Glands in the mucosa make mucus (a thick, slippery fluid). Also called mucous membrane.
Uterus (Womb)
The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called womb.
Vagina
The muscular canal that goes from the uterus to the outside of the body. During birth, the baby passes through the vagina.

Terms to know

Atypical Glandular Cells (AGC)
A finding of abnormal cells in a Pap test. The glandular cells come from the inner part of the cervix or the...
Biopsy
A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body part, such as the colon or liver, is removed for examination with...
CIN-1 (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grade 1)
A condition in which slightly abnormal cells grow on the thin layer of tissue that covers the cervix. These a...
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