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[pree-kan-ser-uh s] /priˈkæn sər əs/
showing pathological changes that may be preliminary to malignancy.
Origin of precancerous
1880-85; pre + cancerous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for precancerous
  • If the damage is not too extensive, cancerous or precancerous cells are created from healthy cells.
  • Colposcopy may be used to keep track of precancerous cells and look for abnormalities that come back after treatment.
  • The purpose of this procedure is to diagnose and treat precancerous changes in the cervix.
  • Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion that rarely may become a squamous cell cancer.
  • In a colonoscopy, doctors insert a scope to see tumors and precancerous polyps in the colon.
  • Her work ranges from the noxious tailpipe to the precancerous cell, evaluating all the possible way stations of disease.
  • But pap smears allow precancerous lesions to be treated before they become cancerous.
  • If these precancerous cells are not detected and treated early, they can develop into invasive cancer of the cervix.
British Dictionary definitions for precancerous


(esp of cells) displaying characteristics that may develop into cancer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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precancerous in Medicine

precancerous pre·can·cer·ous (prē-kān'sər-əs)
Of, relating to, or being a condition or lesion that typically precedes or develops into a cancer.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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