What is tumor?


An abnormal mass of tissue that forms when cells grow and divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors may grow large but do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues or other parts of the body. Malignant tumors can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. They can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Also called neoplasm.

A tumour is a mass or collection of aberrant cells that develops within the body. It’s not always cancer if you have a tumour. Many cancers are harmless (not cancerous).

Tumors can appear anywhere on the body. Bone, skin, tissues, glands, and organs can all be affected. Tumor is also known as neoplasm.

What’s the difference between a tumor and a cyst?

A tumor is a solid mass of tissue. It may or may not be cancerous.

A cyst is a small sac that may contain fluid, air or solid material. The majority of cysts are not cancerous.

Types of tumor

A tumor may be:

Malignant: Tumors that are malignant or cancerous have the potential to spread to adjacent tissue, glands, and other regions of the body. Metastases are the new tumours (mets). After treatment, cancerous tumours can reappear (cancer recurrence). These tumours have the potential to be life-threatening.

Benign: Benign tumours are not malignant and pose a low risk of death. They’re isolated, which means they don’t spread to other parts of the body or impact neighbouring tissue. Many noncancerous tumours don’t need treatment. However, certain noncancerous tumours press against other bodily organs and necessitate medical attention.

Precancerous conditions

Precancerous cells are aberrant cells that, if left untreated, can turn into cancer. Some of these cells have minor alterations that may go away on their own. However, some precancerous cells pass on genetic mutations and become increasingly aberrant as they divide, eventually transforming into cancer. A precancerous disease might take a long time to progress to malignancy.

Precancerous alterations range in severity from minor to severe. Precancerous alterations can be described in a variety of ways depending on how mild or severe they are.

Hyperplasia means that abnormal cells are dividing and increasing in number faster than normal. The cells look normal under the microscope but there are more cells than normal. Some types of hyperplasia are precancerous but most aren’t.

Atypia means that cells are slightly abnormal (atypical). Sometimes atypia may be caused by healing and inflammation but some types of atypia are precancerous.

Metaplasia means that there has been a change to the types of cells that are normally found in this area of the body. The cells look normal but they aren’t the type of cells that are normally found in that tissue or area. Most types of metaplasia aren’t precancerous but some are.

Dysplasia means that cells are abnormal, there are more cells than normal, the cells are growing faster than normal and they aren’t arranged like normal cells. Dysplasia is a precancerous condition.

Carcinoma in situ is the most severe type of precancerous change. The cells are very abnormal but have not grown into nearby tissue. Carcinoma in situ is usually treated because it has a high risk of developing into cancer.

People with precancerous conditions are usually checked regularly, so they can be treated quickly if cell changes become more severe or turn into cancer.

Types of malignant tumors

Types of cancerous tumors include:
  • Bone tumors (osteosarcoma and chordomas).
  • Brain tumors such as glioblastoma and astrocytoma.
  • Malignant soft tissue tumors and sarcomas.
  • Organ tumors such as lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
  • Ovarian germ cell tumors.
  • Skin tumors (such as squamous cell carcinoma).
  • Types of benign tumors
Common noncancerous tumors include:

Benign bone tumors (osteomas).
Brain tumors such as meningiomas and schwannomas.
Gland tumors such as pituitary adenomas.
Lymphatic tumors such as angiomas.
Benign soft tissue tumors such as lipomas.
Uterine fibroids.

Types of precancerous tumors
Precancerous tumors include:

Actinic keratosis, a skin condition.
Cervical dysplasia.
Colon polyps.
Ductal carcinoma in situ, a type of breast tumor.

Risk factors for tumor

Tumors affect people of all ages, including children. Factors that increase the chances of developing a tumor include:

  • Gene mutations (changes), such as mutated BRCA (breast cancer) genes.
  • Inherited conditions, such as Lynch syndrome and neurofibromatosis (NFS).
  • Family history of certain types of cancer like breast cancer or prostate cancer.
  • Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Exposure to toxins like benzene or asbestos.
  • Previous radiation exposure.
  • Viruses like HPV.
  • Having obesity.

Treatment of tumor

Treatment for a tumour is determined by a number of criteria, including the type of tumour (malignant or benign), as well as its location.

Many benign tumours do not require treatment. Some benign tumours, on the other hand, can continue to develop. Benign brain tumours, for example, might press against healthy tissue, impairing vision or speech. Surgery to remove the tumour may be recommended by your healthcare provider.

Treatments for cancerous tumors include:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery or destroy lingering abnormal cells after surgery.
  • Immunotherapy to engage the immune system to fight cancer.
  • Radiation therapy to destroy abnormal cells.
  • Targeted therapy to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.
  • Comments Closed
  • December 20th, 2021

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