Atypical cells appear abnormal, but they ARE NOT necessarily cancerous. Many factors can make normal cells appear atypical, including inflammation and infection. Even normal aging can make cells appear abnormal.
Atypical cells can revert to normal if the underlying cause is removed or resolved. In some cases this happens spontaneously. In other cases, it's the result of a specific treatment.
Although atypical cells don't necessarily mean cancer, it's important to remember that some cancers first appear as atypical cells. If your doctor identifies atypical cells, close follow-up is essential. In some cases, the doctor may simply monitor the atypical cells to make sure they don't become more abnormal. In other cases, the doctor may recommend a particular treatment to try to reverse the process that's causing the atypical cells. And sometimes, the doctor may need to obtain a larger sample of tissue — such as a biopsy — to make sure cancer or another more serious condition isn't present.