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What are the treatment options for precancerous cells?

A:

Quick Answer

Common treatment options for precancerous cells include cryosurgery, laser surgery and conization. Another form of treatment for precancerous conditions that occur along the epidermis involves the use of topical medication, such as creams and lotions, as stated by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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Full Answer

Abnormal cellular growths that may potentially develop into malignant tumors are typically found in the cervix or on the uppermost layer of the skin. A precancerous growth in the cervix is referred to as cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia, while a precancerous dermal growth is called actinic keratosis, as explained by the United States National Cancer Institute.

Cryosurgery, also known as cryotherapy, utilizes liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy abnormal growths that are suspected as precursors to cancer. Liquid nitrogen is a chemical compound characterized by an excessively low temperature. For external growths, such as actinic keratosis, the fluid is directly swabbed or sprayed on the affected area. For internal tumors, such as cervical precancerous cells, a device called a cryoprobe is used to expose the irregular growths to liquid nitrogen. Argon gas is also utilized in cryosurgery, as noted by the American Cancer Society.

Laser therapy is a method that uses a high-intensity light to vaporize abnormal growths. Conization, meanwhile, involves the removal of a conical piece of cervical tissue through the use of a surgical knife or a thermal wire that is induced by electricity. The tissue is then thoroughly examined to determine if all precancerous cells have been fully removed. Further treatment may be advised based on the results.

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