What is cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)?
The presence of abnormal cells in the cervix are usually caused by changes in the squamous cells of the cervix. This is known as cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN).
CIN is known as a pre-cancerous condition as if left untreated it can go on to develop into squamous cell carcinoma (a type of cancer of the cervix) .
To describe how far the abnormal cells have gone into the surface layer of the cervix,
CIN is sorted into grades:
- CIN 1 – Only one-third of the thickness of the surface layer of the cervix is affected.
- CIN 2 – Two-thirds of the thickness of the surface layer of the cervix is affected.
- CIN 3 – The full thickness of the surface layer of the cervix is affected.
CIN 3 is also called carcinoma-in-situ. It is not cancer of the cervix but it's important that CIN 3 is treated quickly.
What is cervical glandular intra-epithelial neoplasia (CGIN)?
Changes in the glandular cells within the cervical canal are referred to as cervical glandular intra-epithelial neoplasia or CGIN.
Similar to CIN, if left untreated these cell changes can develop into a type of cancer known as adenocarcinoma. It is much less common for changes to occur in these cells.
Screening for CIN and CGIN
A cervical screening test can also detect early cancer of the cervix, but most women with an abnormal test result have early cell changes and not cancer. Very few women with an abnormal test result actually have cancer of the cervix.