Tumors can be benign or malignant.
A tumor is an abnormal mass or growth. A benign or non-cancerous tumor is confined to a specific part of the body and doesn’t metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. Untreated benign tumors can still be dangerous, for they can grow to be quite large and thus damage neighboring tissues or organs.
A malignant tumor is cancerous and can, therefore, spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, malignant tumors are also more difficult to treat than are benign tumors.
Common Types of Benign Tumors
Soft tissue is defined as tissues that support, surround, or connect other parts of the body. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, skin, fat, blood vessels, and nerves. If it isn’t a bone or an organ, it is probably soft tissue.
Fibromas or fibroids are tumors that grow in connective or fibrous tissues and can develop in any organ. They are particularly likely to develop within the uterus. Uterine fibroids are an example of benign tumors that require treatment, for they can cause bladder problems, heavy bleeding, and pain or pressure in the pelvis.
Lipomas develop from fat cells, and they are the most common benign tumor found in adults. They often develop on the arms, back, shoulders, or neck. They are typically round, soft, and moveable. Lipomas usually grow slowly, and a tendency towards developing lipomas can run in families. Doctors will remove a lipoma if it is growing unusually quickly or it if it becomes painful.
Nevi or moles are small growths of skin cells and thus qualify as tumors. They are generally pigmented and can be any color ranging from pink to dark brown or black. It is perfectly normal for somebody to develop new moles until they are around 40 years old. Moles are usually harmless, but some can become cancerous and cause melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. It is, therefore, prudent to have a doctor check your skin for suspicious moles.
Osteochondromas are very common benign bone tumors, and they generally take the form a painless bump near a joint. Doctors will generally simply use X-rays to monitor this type of tumor, and they will remove it if it starts causing pain or pressing on other tissues like blood vessels or nerves.
What is a Sarcoma?
A sarcoma is a malignant or cancerous tumor. Sarcomas that affect the bones are sometimes called osteosarcomas.
Osteosarcomas are most common in teenagers, but they can also affect children and young adults. While they can appear anywhere, they are most likely to develop around the knee or shoulder. Osteosarcomas are sometimes categorized by the speed of their growth; low-grade osteosarcomas grow slowly, and high-grade osteosarcomas grow quickly. Intermediate-grade sarcomas fall between the two extremes.
Rhabdomyosarcoma affects the muscles and is the most common soft tissue malignant tumor to affect children. One type, embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS), usually develops in children who are five years old or younger.