Gene expression and cancer

Benign and malignant tumours
Tumour development

Benign and malignant tumours

Not all tumours are cancer. Tumours are tissue growths beyond the required tissue growth for healthy functioning. Benign tumours are local and cannot spread. Mostly they pose no direct health risk, and only require medical interventions such as surgery if they interfere with organ, nerve or blood vessel function by their presence (i.e. increasing local pressure).

The ability of tumour cells to spread beyond the local tumour is called metastasis and defines malignant tumours which are the basis of cancer. This is also the primary source of death related to tumours.

Benign growths keep to themselves and cannot spread through the blood system or lymphatic system. Cancer on the other hand poses a big risk to unrelated areas of the body by carrying cancer cells via the bloodstream. Therefore, a local cancer in the breast tissue can extend to the bones or liver.

The differences between benign and malignant tumours, respectively, in their appearance and…

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