What is a hamartoma?

A hamartoma is a non-cancerous type of tumour. The cells in this type of tumour look similar to normal cells. However, unlike normal, healthy cells, the cells in ta hamartoma are disorganized and serve no function for the organ involved. A hamartoma can be made up of one type of cell or several different types of cells.

A hamartoma can develop anywhere in the body although they are more frequently found in the lungs, digestive tract (especially the colon), breast, and brain. The type of cells found in a hamartoma will depend on the area of the body involved. For example, a hamartoma in the brain may be made up of neurons and other cells normally found in the brain.

While hamartomas are not considered cancer, they can still cause damage by compressing nearby structures, such as other organs, nerves, or blood vessels.


This microscopic image show a hamartoma in the lung made up of cartilage and fat.

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