Knowing the Difference: Benign and Malignant Tumors

The diagnosis of any kind of tumor brings worries and doubts. Often times, the word ‘tumor’ gets interpreted as ‘cancer’ and equivocally frightens patients. There are two kinds of tumors or growths that people may be at risk of growing: benign and malignant. One Brain and Spine Center offers consultations and treatment options for tumors of the brain and spine.
At our Center, Dr. Burak Ozgur works with patients to design individualized treatment plans to best relieve symptoms of their brain and/or spine conditions. ONE Brain and Spine Center is located in Irvine and serves patients in surrounding California areas.
Benign refers to a tumor, condition, or growth that is not cancerous. In most cases, it can be removed and when a patient undergoes this simple surgery, it usually stays away forever. A benign tumor is localized and has not yet metastasized, meaning spread to other parts of the body. The growth of this kind of tumor normally grows at a slower rate and will not harm the body if a doctor examines it first. However, if the tumor is larger and has a heavier mass, it can put stress and weight on nearby organs and blood vessels that can cause problems. Some of the most common benign tumors include:

  • Cysts
  • Fibromas
  • Hemangioma
  • Hematoma
  • Lipomas
  • Nodules
  • Papilloma

A malignant tumor is a type of cancer. This tumor has cancer cells that impair tissues and possibly organs near the area. The cancer cells have the potential to leave the tumor and enter a person’s blood stream. When this happens, the cancer can spread and form new tumors in other areas of a person’s body. While there are over 200 types of cancers, most can be categorized in these four kinds:

  • Carcinoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Sarcoma

Once a doctor has examined the tumor, he or she will diagnose it as benign or malignant and give it a score on how malignant it is. The numbered score that the doctor determines reflects what kind of treatment and prognosis will be sought for the patient. Treatment options that are most commonly used by physicians are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe steroids to help with inflammation of the central nervous system.
According the American Cancer Society, 2013 is predicted to have around 23,130 new cases of brain or spinal cord tumors. And while the chances of a person developing a malignant tumor in their lifetime is less than one percent, annual exams should be made with your doctor.
ONE Brain & Spine Center is the premier spine and brain center in Irvine, California, offering minimally invasive spine surgeries and minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries. For more information or to make an appointment, please call (949) 383-4190.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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