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Benign or Malignant: What’s the Difference

A mountain of unpronounceable words, scientific jargon, and terms that even sound the same. This is the language of cancer. Each term you may read or hear can indicate stark contrasts in diagnosis and treatment. In this post, we are specifically going to break down the difference between benign and malignant tumors.

Benign Tumor: What is it and What Effect does It Have?
A benign tumor is one that may not be as dangerous as a malignant tumor, but can cause pain and have the ability to become dangerous. Benign tumors, sometimes referred to as masses, can be seen on the outside of the body as well as invading the inner body. Types of benign tumors include:

  • Leiomyomas – found in the uterus
  • Lipomas – found on neck and shoulders.
  • Hemangiomas – collection of blood vessel cells: usually resolve themselves
  • Desmoid – invade tissues and organs
  • Fibromas- found in connective tissue
  • Adenomas – found on the surface of the GI tract.

Benign tumors have many effects such as:

  • Minor to painful discomfort
  • Invade other bodily organs
  • Spread to other parts of the body

People can carry a benign tumor for their entire life without needing treatment. Sometimes these tumors will need to be removed as they could cause residual damage to the body and possibly become cancerous.

Malignant Tumors: How are They Different from Benign Tumors?
Malignant tumors are very likely to invade other organs. The term for that process is metastasize. These tumors will grow faster than a benign tumor and are more likely to destroy the organs. Malignant cells have a unique ability. They can actually make enzymes that will dissolve tissue in the body.

Since there are no good tumors, if a tumor is found by your doctor, you will need to have a pathology examination. This will determine what type you have and what treatment needs to be administered.







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