Benign and Malignant tumors

A tumor is a mass of abnormal cells that form a lump or growth in any part of the body. The cells in the body are naturally refreshed by dividing and dead cells are disposed off. When some of the dead cells remain behind, they can form a growth called as tumor. Tumours are classified broadly into two types benign and malignant.
Benign Tumors: When the mass of cells are not life-threatening and lack the capability to metastize or invade other neighboring tissues, they are called benign tumors. Usually this mass or lump is evident and can be felt from outside.
Malignant Tumors :When the mass of cells start invading the surrounding tissue and invade other organs, causing fatal damage are malignant tumors. Malignant tumors metastize that is they find its way into the blood vessel and get carried around in the body. They eventually get stuck in a smaller blood vessel. They begin to grow and divide again resulting in secondary tumors. Metastatsis is the process of cancer spreading across the body.

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Causes

Benign Tumors

  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Diet
  • Infection and inflammation
  • Exposure to radiation

Malignant tumors

  • Environmental factors such as pollution
  • Genetics and inheritance
  • Radiation
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Infectious diseases
  • Chemicals – benzene and other toxins
  • Tobacco and smoking
  • Hormonal cell proliferation
  • Low testosterone activity
  • Too much alcohol
  • Viruses such as human papillomavirus and hepatocellular carcinoma with hepatitis B virus

Symptoms

Benign tumors

  • Can be felt from outside if tumor is close to the skin
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Fevers

Malignant tumors

In case of malignant tumors symptoms depend on the location of the tumor. They symptoms can be consolidated as:

  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain
  • Diarrhea, constipation, iron deficiency, blood in stool, indigestion
  • Skin changes in case of skin cancer
  • White patches in the tongue
  • Nagging cough

Diagnosis

CT and MRI scans :These scans will help to determine the actual location of the tumor in the body.
PET scans :This is a Positron Emission Tomography scan done for certain types of tumors.
Biopsy :A piece of tissue is extracted and examined under the microscope.
CBC : A complete blood count is done to assess health of the patient.
Bone Marrow Biopsy :This is done in case of lymphoma or leukemia.
Liver function tests :Tests to assess complete functionality of the liver.