Medical Definition of Premalignant

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Premalignant: Pertaining to tissue that is not yet malignant but is poised to become malignant. Appropriate clinical and laboratory studies are designed to detect premalignant tissue while it is still in a premalignant stage. A battery of techniques are available to remove or kill the tissue, thereby preventing the development of cancer. The proper treatment method depends on the particular premalignant tissue involved. Examples of premalignant growths include polyps in the colon, actinic keratosis of the skin, dysplasia of the cervix, metaplasia of the lung, and leukoplakia (white patches in the mouth).

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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