October 18, 2023
A tumour is a mass or group of abnormal cells that form in the body. Although there are many different types of tumours they are typically divided into two categories: benign which means non-cancerous and malignant which means cancerous. Malignant tumours are further divided into carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, and melanoma. Some tumours may also be precancerous, which means they have the potential to become cancerous if not treated.
Malignant (cancerous) tumours can grow and spread into nearby tissues and other parts of the body. They can also come back after treatment. Benign (non-cancerous) tumours do not spread and are rarely life-threatening. However, some benign tumours may need treatment if they cause problems such as pain, pressure or bleeding. Precancerous tumours are usually treated to prevent them from turning into cancer.
One of the most important roles that a pathologist plays in your medical care is determining whether a tumour is benign or malignant. By examining tissue from the tumour under the microscope, pathologists can reliably tell the difference between benign and malignant in most circumstances.
Features typically seen in malignant (cancerous) tumours:
This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have a question about this article or your pathology report.