A tumor is the mass of an abnormal growth of cells or tissue (neoplasm) which occurs as a lump or swelling. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation that may be solid or fluid-filled, can also be benign (generally harmless), premalignant (precancerous) or malignant (cancerous) growths.
Types of tumors
- Benign tumoris generally not harmful to the body and cannot spread or non-progressive (usually remains as it is). However, some may press against nerves or blood vessels and cause pain, make some tissues (such as endocrine tissues) produce excess hormones or other negative effects. Examples are; Adenomas, fibroids, hemangiomas, lipomas.
- Premalignant tumor are those tumors that are not yet cancerous, but is about to become so. Examples are; Actinic keratosis, Dysplasia of the cervix, Metaplasia of the lung, Leukoplakia.
- Malignant tumorsare cancerous tumors that may become progressively worse, and can potentially result in death. Unlike benign tumors, malignant ones grow fast, they are ambitious, they seek out new territory, and they spread easily. Malignant tumors can invade nearby cells, spread to various parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system, establish themselves anywhere in the body, and form new malignant tumors (a process called metastasis). Examples are; Carcinoma, sarcoma, Lymphoma/Leukemia, Lymphoma/Leukemia and blastoma.
Causes of tumor
Some possible causes of tumor include:
- abnormal proliferation of tissues
- Environmental toxins, such as certain poisonous mushrooms and a type of poison that can grow on peanut plants (aflatoxins)
- Genetic mutation
- Problems with the body’s immune system
- Constant exposure to sunlight (especially those who have fair skin)
- Tobacco Smoking
- A collection of too many blood cells
- Hypoxia (neovascularization and tumor regrowth)
The following symptoms may occur with tumors:
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
A sample (biopsy) is usually taken and examined in the laboratory, by a professional in the field to decide whether a tumor is malignant or not. Biopsy can be carried three different ways:
- Excisional biopsy– The entire lump or suspicious area is surgically removed.
- Incisional (core) biopsy– A sample from the tumor is surgically removed.
- Needle aspiration biopsy– A sample or fluid of the tissue is removed with a needle.
Although there are conflicting reports about tumor prevention, however, it is generally accepted that your chances of developing tumors (especially the malignant ones) are affected by the lifestyle choices you make. The following lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of developing a tumor:
- Avoid smoking
- Keep a healthy body weight
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Eat healthy meals
- Avoid certain infections, for example, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Engage in regular physical activity
- Avoid prolonged stay in the sun
Treatment of tumor
Benign tumor may not need treatment. However, treatment may vary based on the type of tumor or the location. Possible treatments for cancerous tumor may include:
- Targeted cancer therapy
- Biologic therapy
Article by: eDokita Team
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