Tumors

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Tumors may be either benign or malignant .  It is important to know the difference between the different types of tumors.  Different types of tumors can have very different results for patients.

A benign tumor is usually not life threatening.  In some cases they are little more than a nuisance.  However, some types of benign tumors can have negative effects if they develop into mass effect.  This mass effect may cause nerve or organ damage.  The mass effect usually happens when the tumors develop in enclosed spaces such as the respiratory track, sinus or within bones.  Benign tumors do not have the ability to spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.  The benign tumors produce a sticky chemical adhesion molecule which causes the cells to stick together.  These tumors stay contained at the one site.

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On the other hand malignant tumors do have the ability to spread to other areas of the body either through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream.  The malignant tumor does not produce the chemical adhesion molecule so cells can easily break away from the original tumor and spread throughout the body.  Malignant tumor are cancerous and are life threatening.  These can sometime be difficult and not respond to treatments.  In fact, at times the patient may have little or no improvement in response to treatment.  At other times treatment will be successful.

The benign tumor usually will  respond well to treatment.

Somewhere between a benign and a malignant tumor is a tumor know as a pre-cancerous tumor.  A pre-cancerous tumor is not cancerous and usually will respond well to treatment if it is required.  However, sometimes a pre-cancerous tumor will develop into a malignant one, but this is not necessarily the case.

If you have an abnormal skin growth or suspect a tumor somewhere in your body be sure to consult with your health care professional as soon as possible.  They will be able to test and determine whether a tumor is benign or malignant and what treatment may be necessary.