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Benign & Malignant Tumours: Why Is It Essential To Understand The Distinction

In a metaphorical sense, tumours can be described as aggressive species encroaching on other areas of the body while attempting to assert their territory. Therefore, it must be removed to prevent further damage to the body. Depending on various factors like the tumour growth, its degree of spreading and aggressiveness, tumours are divided into two; Benign and Malignant.

What is a tumour?

Human body consists of different types of cells. Mitosis is the process by which these cells divide to form new cells, duplicating their contents. In a typical process, aged cells die and are replaced by fresh ones. Tumours are caused by abnormal mitosis, where the cells do not die but continue to divide.  Tumour or Neoplasm is a mass or collection of aberrant cells that can develop in any area of the human body.  Tumours can be either benign or malignant.

What is a benign tumour?

Benign or non-cancerous tumours remain localised in their region and do not spread or invade other human body parts.  Benign tumours need not be life-threatening, and a person can survive without treatment. However, its abnormal growth can press other organs, causing damage. Furthermore, certain benign tumours can be precancerous, which means they can progress to cancer if not treated.

What are the different types of benign tumours?

  • Adenoma: It forms in the epithelial tissue, which is a layer of thin tissue layer covering glands, organs, and others. Adenomas tend to be precancerous in nature and should be treated. 
  • Lipoma: They are soft tumours that develop in fat tissue and are most commonly found in the back, shoulders, arms, or neck. They do not have to be precancerous, but they can be distressing for the patient and necessitate treatment.
  • Myoma: It develops from the walls of blood vessels or muscles. Uterine fibroid is the name given to a myoma that forms in the uterus.
  • Fibroids: They develop in any organ, ligament, or tendon’s connective or fibrous tissue. Although they are rarely malignant, they must be treated if they cause severe discomfort or other signs like vaginal bleeding. Uterine fibroid, uterine myoma, or leiomyoma are all terms used to describe uterine fibroids.
  • Nevi: They are benign skin growths that can eventually turn into skin cancer, especially the dysplastic nevi. People with nevi should visit their doctor to be checked for any potential malignant growth.
  • Hemangiomas: They are blood vessel growths that can affect the skin or internal organs like the colon. Hemangiomas can bleed or turn into ulcers, but they don’t always have to be cancerous. Hemangiomas that develop close to the eyes or ears might impair normal hearing or vision. 
  • Meningiomas: They are the types of tumours that develop in the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. Meningiomas don’t exhibit symptoms until they grow and start pressing against other organs. Then people show symptoms like headache, seizure, fatigue, and sight issues. They can develop into cancerous brain tumours over time. 
  • Neuromas: It grows in the nerve cells at any part of the human body.
  • Osteomas: They are the benign growth of new or existing bones, also referred to as exostosis. An osteochondroma is a bone growth that is covered with cartilage. They need not become cancerous, but osteomas tend to be very painful and require treatment.

What is a malignant tumour?

Malignant or cancerous tumours are dangerous and life-threatening. They divided aggressively and spread from one part of the human body to another, invading and causing damage, a condition called metastasis.

What are the different types of malignant tumours?

Malignant tumours are classified into five important parts; 

  • Carcinoma: It originates in the epithelial tissue like linings of the organs or skin. 90% of the reported cancer cases are carcinomas, and they are as follows;
  • Sarcoma: It originates in the connective tissues like bones, fat, tendons, muscles, and cartilage. 
  • Myeloma: It is the cancer of the bone marrow plasma. It can be either precancerous or cancerous in nature. 
  • Leukaemia: It is the cancer of the bone marrow, leading to the abnormal production of immature blood cells that affects normal functioning.
  • Lymphoma: It is the type of cancer reported in the lymphatic system’s nodes or glands.

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How to know if the tumour is benign or malignant? ​

Benign tumours are generally regarded as harmless and do not require treatment. These tumours have clear boundaries and are easy to treat. A malignant tumour is scary, and its metastasis reduces a person’s chance of survival.  A physical examination helps in detecting the presence of a lump (in the case of breast cancer or lymphoma). The blood test can determine blood cancer and its nature. When it comes to a tumour, only a biopsy can confirm its cancerous nature. During a biopsy, the medical expert takes a small sample of the tumour and sends it to the lab for diagnosis. The pathologist analyses the tumour and determines its features. A malignant tumour’s mitotic rate is higher than benign tumours. It is also characterised by abnormal structures in the histological findings. Treatment options for the tumour depend on its features, mitosis, metastasis, location, and other factors like the age of the individual, co-morbidities and all. A benign tumour diagnosis serves as a sense of relief for an individual. Only a medical expert and lab testing can ensure proper diagnosis

In conclusion,

A malignant or cancerous tumour is dangerous because it affects the normal functions of the tissue or organ. It causes organ damage that leaves an individual disabled and dependent on others.  Early detection and treatment of malignant tumours are imperative to prevent further complications. At the same time, benign tumours should also be removed if they threaten the human body. People should overcome their fear and stigma to approach medical professionals and invest better in their health and wellness.

Have you received a tumour diagnosis? In need of a biopsy?

CancerMitr collaborates with the best doctors, lab experts and others in the healthcare industry to assist all cancer patients from discovery to recovery. 

We provide a variety of testing and screening packages for early detection, including biopsy, which determines whether the tumour is benign or malignant.
We also work with the best doctors and clinics to provide guidance and support before, during, and after cancer treatment. Check out our website for more information on the various packages we offer.

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