Benign and Malignant Tumors

Benign tumors and malignant tumors are two types of tumors with totally opposite characteristics. It is commonly considered that benign tumors are harmless. However, those are known to be one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in United States. Therefore, it is sometimes hard to compare and contrast these two types of cancer. The following gives a brief description of both kinds along with few examples, causes, symptoms and the available treatments for the examples that are being discussed in that particular section.

Benign Tumor:

This is a type of tumor that does not “metastasize”. In other words, it does not spread to other body organs like cancer cells. This might make benign tumours harmless. However, there still could be growth in a benign tumour and cause damage to other organs or nerves. Therefore, it still could cause serious illness and lead to death if it attacks an important organ. As mentioned above in the introduction, this kind of tumour is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in US (around 13,000 annually)


Lump, swelling, and pain are the most common symptoms that are listed in various sources that analyze the benign tumor in depth. However, these symptoms are not just enough to conclude that one is having benign tumor. A proper medical test should be conducted by professionals to decide whether or not one is affected by this tumour.


As far as our research goes, we found over 300 different benign tumors in various sources. Here are some examples chosen from those sources and some of the common ones and rare ones would be discussed in detail below. We can not generalize the diagnosis and treatment of benign tumor because everything depends on the location, size, and the classification. Therefore, these aspects would be covered for the types of tumors that are being discussed in detail. If you want more detailed information on other tumors, you can visit our channel that is specifically dedicated to information on different types of cancers.


  • Giant cell tumor
  • Skin adnexal tumor
  • Adnexal and Skin Appendage Neoplasms
  • Hepatoma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Benign lung Tumor
  • Brain Stem Glioma
  • Meningioma
  • Osteoma
  • Osteoid Osteoma
  • Osteochondroma
  • Carcinoid
  • Carcinoid of Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Fibroma
  • Fibroadenoma
  • Breast fibroadenoma
  • Benign lymphoma
  • Back tumour
  • Breast Duct Papilloma
  • Vipoma
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
  • Adenoma,
  • Gastrinoma

Giant cell tumor:

This is a rare bone tumor. Even though this is an aggressive type of tumour, it is not cancerous.


This tumour most often occurs around ones knee joint, especially in your thighbone’s lower end. It could also occur in your shin bone’s upper end.

  • First symptom is the usual one in case of any tumor; the patient would feel pain in the area where tumour is growing, especially when he/she is moving the joint. The more you use the joint, the more pain you would feel, and if you rest it then the pain will disappear.
  • The bone that is weakened by the tumor occasionally breaks causing severe pain.
  • Swollen area that is not painful.

Diagnosis and treatment:

Diagnosis of this tumour is based on biopsy findings. The treatment is surgical. Curettage is one of the methods that is being used to treat giant cell tumour.

Adnexal and Skin Appendage Neoplasms:

This is a type of tumour that affects only certain organs, such as eyes, uterus and skin. Even though these are considered to be benign, they have the tendency to become malignant.

  • Symptoms:

    Yellow skin bumps, Eye tumor: Vision impairment, Uterine tumour: Abdominal pain, irregular menstruation, frequent cramps.

  • Diagnosis and treatment:

    Simple biopsy is enough to diagnose the visible tumor. For uterine tumours, X-rays and ultrasounds could be used to locate the presence of tumor cells. CT scan and MRI scans are also used to identify them. The treatment for this tumour is surgical. It could be surgically removed with less chances of recurrence.


This is a neuroendocrine tumor that occurs in the lungs.

  • Symptoms:

    Diarrhea, wheezing, abdominal cramps, swollen feet, and flushing.

  • Diagnosis and treatment:

    Blood tests and CT, MRI scans are used to diagnose Carcinoid tumors. Surgery is used to remove these kinds of tumors.

Malignant Tumor:

In most of malignant tumours, cells vigorously spread. When they come across blood vessels, they get into them and get carried away to the other parts of the body. If they get inside a small blood vessel, they then would get stuck in there and would start dividing, causing a new tumour. These tumours are known as secondary tumours. Sometimes these tumours are also known as metastases. In biological terms, this spreading process in called as metastasis.


There are many different types of malignant tumours. There are over 120 types of brain tumours, and then you could imagine the number of malignant tumours that are there. Some of them are known and understood well by our limited knowledge but most of them are not. The following lists some of the malignant tumours that are known and understood by our human brains.

List of Malignant tumors of the nasal sinuses, nasal cavity, and nasopharynx:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Mucous adenocarcinoma
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Neurofibroxanthoma
  • Fibroxanthoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Reticulosarcoma

Malignant tumors of the larynx:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Carcinoid tumor
  • Cancer undifferentiated
  • Chondrosarcoma

Malignant tumors of the trachea, bronchi, lungs:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Carcinoid tumor
  • Carcinosarcoma

Malignant tumors of the jawbones:

  • Dontogenous carcinoma
  • Dontogenous sarcoma

Malignant tumors of the esophagus:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Undifferentiated cancer
  • Carcinosarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma

The above are just a few examples of different types of malignant tumours. There are many more malignant tumours apart from the above ones. Below is an example from each kind that would be elaborately discussed.

    • Adenocarcinoma:

      This accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all the known colorectal cancers. This is a tumor that affects epithelial tissue in a gland.

  • Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment:

Adenocarcinoma stays asymptomatic most of the time until its advanced stage. Chest X-rays are usually used to diagnose this tumor. The treatment method of Adenocarcinoma depends on many factors, such as, age, health condition, and stage of disease.

    • Carcinoid tumor:

      This is a type of ovarian cancer.

      • Symptoms:

        It is usually asymptomatic in the early stages and symptoms include pelvic pain, pelvic mass, full feeling in pelvis, increased frequency of urination, mild abdominal symptoms, menstrual abnormalities, back pain, nausea, vomiting, night time diarrhea and weight changes.

      • Diagnosis and treatment:

        It is very hard to diagnose this tumor at the early stages. This is why it makes it harder to identify this tumor and treat it. However, there are several tests that are being used now to specifically diagnose this cancer, such as CgA (chromogranin) testing, 5- Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid testing (5-HIAA), Somatostatin Receptor Scintigraphy testing (SRS) Surgery, chemotherapy, and radio therapy are the treatment methods that are being used to treat Carcinoid tumor.

The above article attempts to briefly describe both malign and benign tumors. As you could see, the benign tumours are fairly harmless. However, keep in mind that some of the benign tumors might become cancerous and turn into serious malignant tumour. Therefore, care must be taken in both cases and proper diagnoses and treatment are required in all cases.’>

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