Are Benign Tumors Harmless?

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A tumor is defined as a swelling or lesion that is formed by abnormal cell growth. Specifically, new cells are generated in the body prior to the old cells dying which causes an extra mass of cells called a tumor. Tumors serve no useful purpose to the body and generally exist at the expense of the body’s health. Most commonly tumors are used synonymously with cancer. This in fact is false as there are three types of tumors: benign, pre malignant and malignant; and cancer, by definition, is malignant. A recent publication by MedicinePlus discusses the main differences between the three types of tumors and offers commonly overlooked risks of benign tumors.

The primary difference between benign and malignant tumors is location. Malignant tumors are not self-limited in growth and often invade adjacent tissues. Malignant tumors’ main objective is to survive which they accomplish through mutating and spreading throughout the body. Malignant tumors by definition are cancer.
Benign tumors on the other hand, only grow in one place and do not have the ability to spread to adjacent tissue. Treatment for benign tumors usually involves surgery in which the tumor is removed and does not grow back. While benign tumors are undoubtedly less harmful than malignant tumors, if not treated quickly and with extreme care, benign tumors can become fatal.

They key to prevention of further complications of benign tumors is being proactive. Make sure to get tested regularly and pursue quick and effective treatment solutions. To learn more about tumors, both benign and malignant, as well as to gain further insight into other cancer related topics visit both NorthShore University HealthSystems Neuroscience department and cancer forum.

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