October 2020

A tumor is a mass of tissue that’s formed by an accumulation of abnormal cells.

Normally, the cells in your body age, die and are replaced by new cells. With cancer and other tumors, something disrupts this cycle.

There are two basic types of tumors.

One type of tumor is non-cancerous and referred to as benign. The other type is cancerous and referred to as malignant.

Generally speaking, a tumor is caused by body tissues that grow to form an abnormal mass.

This abnormal growth is initiated by abnormally regulated or unbalanced cell division.

When tumors are benign, they typically grow at a slow rate. Usually, benign growths are harmless and do not spread to other parts of the body.

Tumor cells grow, even though the body does not need them, and unlike normal old cells, they don’t die.

As this process goes on, the tumor continues to grow as more and more cells are added to the mass.

What are the characteristics of the 2 Types of Tumors?

Benign (noncancerous tumors)

Have well-defined boundaries
Normally grow at a relatively slow pace
Usually have limited growth

Benign varieties can interfere with the ability of healthy tissues to grow and thrive.

They may grow large enough to apply pressure to vital body organs, resulting in serious illness or death.

When benign growths become too large, they may require surgical removal for cosmetic purposes or to preserve surrounding tissues. Once removed, they usually don’t return.

Malignant (cancerous tumors)

Are faster growing and can be fatal
Have irregular boundaries
Usually invade the surrounding tissue

When a tumor metastasizes, the primary tumor sheds cells that travel through the bloodstream and lymphatic system starting new tumor growth at other locations in the body.

Malignant tumors grow at a faster rate than the benign variety and can cause serious health problems. They may spread to other body tissues and destroy them. These cancerous growths often cause death.

Treatment of malignant tumors may include surgical removal, radiation, or chemotherapy. Often, there is a direct correlation between the placement of the malignant growth and the treatment chosen.

For example, a tumor confined to a relatively small local area may be removed surgically, while growths that are more spread out may require radiation treatment or chemotherapy.

Sometimes, a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation is used. Some malignant cancers cannot be cured completely. Often, a carcinoma fits this description can still be treated, however, extending the life of the patient.


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