Abnormality in the epithelial cell may even cause cancer if not treated in time. So, let us understand more about the abnormality, and ways to get rid of it in this HerHaleness article.
To define epithelial cells in science, we can say that they are cells that line the inner and outer surfaces of the body. These are closely packed cells that form the epithelium. These cells are found throughout the body, they are found in skin and in glandular formation in the tissues. They are like a layer of continuous sheets that adhere to one another along their edges and surfaces. Epithelial cells are attached to each other by cell junctions. One surface of these cells is free while the other is placed on a non cellular base membrane (mainly an underlying tissue).
Epithelial Cells and Functions
Epithelial cells form a tissue which is also called epithelium. This tissue does not contain blood vessels. So the oxygen and other nutrients are supplied to this tissue through the underlying base membrane. The vital functions of these cells are to protect the skin, and secrete important substances. This usually is in the epithelial tissues surrounding the stomach wall. There are three classifications of these cells, they are normally classified by shape, specialization and by the number of cell layers they form. Squamous, have an irregular shape and are thin and flattened. Cuboidal have a nucleus in the center and are cube shaped. Columnar, have a nucleus near the cell base and are much longer than they are wide, they form the columnar epithelium. All these cells have hairlike tiny projections that are called micro villi. A single layer of these cells is called simple epithelia, and multiple layers are called stratified epithelia.
Explaining the Abnormality
The abnormality is defined as the abnormal cells that are found on the cervix (the low and narrow end or the neck of the uterus). It can be related to pap smear terminology. This abnormality is usually detected in a pap smear test. This test determines if there is any malignant or cancerous growth of cells. If the result of the test shows abnormality, it indicates the presence of pre-carcinoma cells (carcinoma is the medical term for transformed epithelial cells included in malignant tumor). The presence of these cells does not necessarily mean cancer is present.
A positive test will require repeated testing to monitor the cell activities, so that in case of a cancerous change, immediate treatment can be administered. The severity of epithelial cell abnormalities can differ with different causes. Atypical Squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) is one of the reasons. It means that the epithelial cells are slightly abnormal, they have a typical shape (different shape than normal), but the functions and the growth of the cells remains the same. This is also called squamous epithelial cell abnormality. Cervical dysplasia is another reason for abnormality. Here the cervical cells grow abnormally, that is either they grow tremendously or are odd shaped.
Abnormality in the epithelial cells does not always mean that cancer is present, it may be present in some case, but in infantile stages. Cases of severe dysplasia or carcinoma are such issues but are limited to the cervix. Repeated pap tests and close observation needs to be followed. A coloscopy or bioscopy will determine the exact problem. The treatment for such abnormalities depend on the reason for abnormality. Abnormality issues are not identical. In case of non cancerous issues, immediate treatment can be helpful. For other cancerous issues, depending on the case, treatment will be prescribed.
This abnormality can commonly strike in women, so regular testing or screening is advised. A lot goes into taking care of the feminine health complications, but with apt knowledge of all possibilities, this can be tackled easily.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.