A tumor may be defined as an abnormal unwanted growth of tissue in any part of the body. This word need not immediately cause panic because the tumor may or may not cause a health threat. There are three types of tumors:
- Benign tumor: This is a noncancerous type of tumor. In our body, new cells are formed while the old ones called dead ones are disposed by our immune system. When this disposal of cells does not occur, the remaining dead cells form a lump, which is called a benign tumor. They are not dangerous since, they do not contain harmful fluids and do not spread. A person suffering from a benign tumor in the brain may have frequent headaches.
- Pre-malignant tumor: It is an initial disorder, or an earlier symptom of cancermanifestation. The inclination of this medical condition is that it will progressively become precarious. This is so because it is capable of conquering neighboring tissues and spreading as well. Leukoplakia is a form of premalignant cancer. They evolve as thick white patches inside the cheeks or on gums below the tongue. These patches are very difficult to be scraped off from the mouth. They are caused mainly due to chewing tobacco and smoking, and if left untreated can expand.
- Malignant tumor: These are the cancerous tumors, in which cells multiply abnormally and rapidly. They are unstable and travel along bloodstream, circulatory system and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. Sarcomas and carcinomas are the most common types of malignant tumors. While the former is related to connective tissues the latter is related to organs and glands.
The most common procedure to name the type of cancer is to refer to their site of origin. Adenocarcinoma, refers to cancer in the adenoid glands. Similarly, a benign tumor of fatty tissue is called lipoma, where as a malignant tumor in the same area is referred to as liposarcoma.
What is a biopsy? How does it relate to a tumor?
A Biopsy is a medical procedure practised by qualified medical practitioners. This procedure helps in identifying the type of tumor within a patient. It aids the doctor to conclude the type of treatment to be given to any patient. This procedure is a definite diagnosis to the identification of cancer. A Biopsy is the removal of a sample of the abnormal, unwanted tissue for laboratory examination. Biopsies are of different types, and they may be performed using ultrasound, CT scan or MRIdepending on where the tumor is.
- Excisional biopsy: In this method the entire lump of excess tissue is removed.
- Incisional biopsy: Here a sample of the abnormal tissue is removed surgically.
- Needle aspiration biopsy: Here the sample is extracted with the help of a needle.
After extraction, the tissue layers are sent to pathological departments to check their composition, and cause of disease.