NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,804 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

HSIL
A growth on the surface of the cervix with moderately or severely abnormal cells. HSILs are usually caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and are found when a Pap test is done. If not treated, these abnormal cells may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue. A HSIL is sometimes called moderate or severe dysplasia. Also called high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion.

EnlargeCervical changes; drawing shows a cross-section of the uterus, cervix, and vagina. Also shown are four panels showing cell changes inside the cervix. The first panel shows normal cells. The second and third panels show abnormal cells called LSIL and HSIL. The fourth panel shows cervical cancer cells. Arrows are used between the panels to show that normal cells may become LSIL or HSIL, which may or may not become cancer.

Cervical changes. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through abnormal changes called dysplasia. There are different types of dysplasia. Mild dysplasia, called low-grade intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) is one type. Moderate or severe dysplasia, called high-grade intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) is another type of dysplasia. LSIL and HSIL may or may not become cancer.