The various cells in the epithelium have vital and varied functions. Abnormalities in the squamous cells give them the name – atypical squamous cells. Let us understand more on this issue, in the following.
Squamous cells are a type of epithelial cells that make a layer of epithelium. They are sheet like tissues spread in the body surrounding most organs and beneath the layer of the skin. These cells are also found on the surface of a woman’s cervix. Atypical squamous cells is the name given to squamous cells when they do not appear normal. They are also known as (ASC). This abnormality can happen due to various reasons.
Abnormal squamous cells sometimes may be a severe concern. They can sometimes be an indication to cancer, but it is not that every atypical squamous cell issue is precancerous. There is another possibility when the squamous cells appear slightly abnormal, this condition is named LSIL, that is low-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. A pap smear test is conducted to check the abnormality of these cells. This is a gynecological test.
Here the samples of the squamous cells are collected from the cervix and examined if they are healthy or abnormal. If a positive result is detected, further tests need to be conducted to find the cause for the abnormality. Let us discuss in detail about atypical squamous cells and their sub categories.
Classification of Atypical Squamous Cells
Atypical Squamous Cells (ASC) are further divided in two categories. They are:
Atypical Squamous Cell with Uncertain Significance (ASC-US)
This is a mild abnormality indication in the cells with some minor changes in the cell portions. The first test and result may not clearly indicate precancerous or cancerous state. The condition of ASC-US cannot be referred to as dysplasia (cancerous indication of cells). A further test will be required to check the presence of any viruses that may support cancer. Human pailloma virus is the main infectious virus agent responsible for the development of precancerous lesions of the cervix.
Other reasons for ACS-US are minor issues like hormonal changes, certain medications, yeast infection and others like pregnancy, normal sexual activity, and pap smear test during menstruation can cause irritation to the cervix and thus produce thin squamous cells. A more detailed test like biopsy and colposcopy may also be suggested further.
Atypical Squamous Cells Cannot Rule High Grade Squamous Intraepilethial Lesion (ASC-H)
The H indicates the high possibility of a high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. As compared to ASC-US these cells predict more risk of cancer and precancerous lesions. They are also drastically abnormal compared to ACS-US. A positive result of these cells needs immediate further examination. A colposcopy is conducted for examination. The doctor may also advise a biopsy for a lab test of the squamous cells samples.
Other Abnormalities in Squamous Cells
Low-Grade Squamous Lesion (LSIL)
This usually indicates mild cell changes, they usually do not develop into cancer. The cause for this lesion is human papilloma virus (HPV). However further testing is recommended for women, as sometimes the HPV also leads to genital warts.
High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (HGSIL):
This abnormality shows more defined changes in the shape of the cells. It is an indication to dysplasia. However it is not cervical cancer but may lead to one if proper treatment is not taken. A pap smear test indicates the same and a colposcopy is required to confirm the results.
Most women who are diagnosed with ASCUS are advised to have a pap test every 6 months. Sometimes, the mild changes in the cells disappear without any treatment. A proper medical examination with tests is advised. Atypical squamous cells may lead to severe consequences like cervical cancer. With all possible information on these cells, these issues can be handled effectively.