Benign versus Malignant Tumors: Definition, Characteristics, and Differences

Well, dealing with cancer, there will be two main traits of tumor we have to be aware: benign and malignant tumors. The malignant tumors, as the reputation suggests, has been known as dangerous and life-threatening as it tends to be cancerous. Malignant tumors are known to be cancerous and made up of cells which may grow out of control. Cells in these life-threatening tumors can attack nearby areas and spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes cells even move away from the original cancer growth site and will spread to the other organs and bones where they can continue to form another tumor at that particular site, which will later form secondary cancer.On the other hand, the benign tumor is not potentially cancerous, and it does not even spread easily like the malignant one. Benign tumors are not potentially cancerous and they can be removed, and the majority of cases, they do not come back. The cells in benign tumors do not spread to the other areas of the body. However, the differences between these two kinds of tumor are not that simple. There are some other differences that we have to address.

Just like you would want to tell the differences between the gentle bees and killer bees, you would want to know the very general and the stereotypical characteristics between benign and malignant tumors. For example, we do know that killer bees are commonly bigger than gentler bees. Well, we can use these particular types of visually visible or palpable distinctiveness for tumors as well.

Benign tumors are commonly known to metastasize very slowly, while the malignant ones will tend to grow more rapidly in size. To put that into more specific outlook, it may take even months or years for a benign tumor to change significantly in size, while the malignant tumors can grow appreciably in just several weeks. Benign tumors are also more likely to be freely movable in or on the tissue on which they reside, while the malignant tumors may be even more difficult to move around due to local tissue invasion.

Further still, benign tumors tend to be so well-circumscribed when grossly observed, that is to say on microscopically perspective, with some imaging modalities, such as MRI, orunder the microscope. This means that the edges of the tumor are commonly so distinct and only demarcated in a certain form. This is by contract to malignant tumors that may have rather irregular shape, it may be quite difficult to tell where the tumor starts and ends. What is more is that malignant tumors are more prone to color changes and potential of ulceration than are benign tumors.

The last macroscopic difference is that during surgical removal of a tumor, a surgeon is more likely to notice encapsulation of certain benign tumors than the malignant tumors. That implies that a benign tumor sits in a protective sac within the body which allows for its easy removal out of the body. On the other hand, malignant tumors do not do this.

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