A tumor is an abnormal mass of body tissue that may be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Tumors occur when cells divide and grow, invading surrounding tissues and spreading to other organs if left unchecked.
Growths can be divided into different categories. A neoplasm is an abnormal growth of tissue that grows faster than normal cells, competing with them for nutrients. It is another word for tumor.
A benign tumor is one that is localized, does not spread to other parts of the body and can be successfully treated. A malignant tumor continues to grow and spread and does not respond well to treatment. It is classified as cancer.
What Causes Tumors?
Tumors are the result of problems with the body’s immune system. There are many causes, including:
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Environmental toxins.
- Genetic problems.
- Exposure to sunlight.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of tumor. Some cause no symptoms until they have reached an advanced stage, while others exhibit signs early on. Generally speaking, symptoms associated with tumors include chills, fever, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite, weight loss and night sweats.
Testing & Diagnosis
Unless there is an obvious lump, most cancers can’t be seen during a physical exam. If a tumor is suspected, a biopsy (tissue sample) will be examined beneath a microscope. This will help determine whether the cancer is benign or malignant. Further testing – a CT scan, MRI or PET scan – will determine the location of the tumor and the extent to which it has spread.
Treatment varies depending upon the type and location of the tumor and whether it’s benign or malignant. If cancerous, treatment options include radiation, surgery, chemotherapy or a combination of the three.
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