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Lynne Eldridge MD

What Does it Mean if I Have Precancerous Cells?

By January 9, 2013

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A question I received recently came from a woman who had recently had a bronchoscopy for a persistent cough. Her doctor told her she had precancerous cells in her airways.

Of course she was terrified, and had many more questions than answers. What does precancerous mean? Do precancerous cells always become cancerous? How are these cells treated? What would happen if she did nothing? Is this the same thing her friend with an abnormal Pap smear had? Would it make any difference now if she started eating healthy and exercising?

Thankfully, a few of her questions had simple answers. Precancerous cells can be found almost anywhere in the body - the airways, the cervix, the skin, and more. Precancerous cells do not always become cancerous. There are several different degrees of precancerous cells, and if the changes are only mild, cancer seldom develops. But these cells may also be a sign that action needs to be taken to prevent cancer.

If you're interested in learning more about this hard-to-understand concept, check out this article:

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