Precursor lesion

A definable pathologic state that frequently progresses directly to disease. Well-studied precancers, or precursors of cancer, have illuminated several complex aspects of the natural history for cervical and colorectal cancer, and have helped to suggest and evaluate successful intervention programs in prevention and patient management. [From Wacholder, S. (2013). Precursors in cancer epidemiology: aligning definition and function. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 22(4): 521–7. PMC3738010.]