The body is made up of many different types of specialized cells. Metaplasia describes a process where a group of cells change from one type of specialized cell into a different type of specialized cell.
Metaplasia can occur any where in the body. The type of metaplasia is given a name that describes the type of specialized cell that remains after the change has occurred.
Common examples include:
Metaplasia is not a type of cancer but some types of metaplasia can increase the risk for developing cancer over time. For example, Barretts esophagus is associated with an increased risk for developing a type of esophagus cancer called adenocarcinoma.