The term “cancer precursor” refers to specific morphologic changes that precede the development of cancer. Knowledge of the etiology of cancer precursors varies considerably by anatomic site. In part, this might reflect the relative inaccessibility of a site to tissue sampling (e.g., ovary and pancreas) and hence the difficulty of detecting and diagnosing precursors at that site. This chapter describes some of the more well studied sites, for which there is substantial knowledge of the histopathology, epidemiology, and natural history.
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