Pathology dictionary

What is a gland?


A gland is a group of cells that are connected side by side to create a round structure with a central open space. The open space is called the lumen. The cells in a gland work together to serve a specific function.

Normal glands can be found in organs throughout the body and the function of the gland depends on the body site. For example, glands in our mouth are designed to make saliva while glands in the stomach secrete acid to aid in digestion.

Tumours made out of glands

Many types of tumours, both non-cancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) are made up of abnormal glands. These tumours usually start with the letters “adeno”. For example, non-cancerous tumours made up of glands are called adenomas while cancers are called adenocarcinoma. These types of tumours can start anywhere in the body.

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