How Can A Pathologist Differentiate Between a Benign Tumour and a Malignant Tumour?
If you have been diagnosed with a tumour, the first thing your oncologist will do is to find out whether it is Malignant or Benign, as it would affect your treatment plan.
A tumour is a malformed lump or growth of cells. When the cells in the tumour are normal and don’t cause trouble, it is known as benign. When the cells are abnormal and grow erratically, they are cancerous cells, and the tumour is malignant.
To determine whether a tumour is benign or malignant, the oncologist may take a sample of the cells during a biopsy procedure. It is then studied under a microscope by a pathologist.
Difference between Benign and Malignant Tumours
A benign growth does not generally endanger life except if it gets in the way of the vital structures, organs, or tissues. Benign growths are normally composed of masses of cells that bear a resemblance to the normal cells making up the tissue in which they are found. Benign tumours don’t perform any useful bodily function and the removal or treatment is usually curative.
There are several types of Benign Tumours:
- Adenomas: They are commonly known as Colon Polyps. The Adenomas begins in the epithelial tissue of a gland
- Lipomas: These Tumours grow on fat cells
- Haemangioma’s: A build-up of blood vessel cells in the skin or internal organs, commonly seen as birthmarks that go away by themselves and don’t need any treatment
- Fibromas: Tumour of connective tissue or the Fibrous, which are capable of growing in any organ, but commonly grows in the uterus
Malignant growth is made up of cells of abnormal structure and function as compared to the healthy cells surrounding them.Example of Malignant Cancer include:
- Leukaemia: Malignant cells that begin to grow in the Bone Marrow or other blood-forming tissue, causing the abnormal cells to enter the bloodstream
- Central Nervous System Cancers: These malignancies start in the brain tissues or the spinal cord.
- Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma: Begins in cells functioning in the Immune System
- Sarcoma: The tumour originates in the cartilage, fat, bone, muscle, blood vessels or other connective tissues in the body
- Carcinoma: This tumour begins in the skin or tissues of the internal organs