Different Types of Tumor

What is a Tumor?

A tumor or tumor is a mass or growth of tissue that is growing where it should not be. Another name for a tumor is neoplasm. A tumor usually develops as ma ass or a lump. Tumors may be malignant or benign. Malignant tumors are harmful while benign tumors may be safe. Cancer is malignant and sometimes metastasizes to other distant parts of the body. There may be a cause for tumors to grow while some tumors grow without any known reason.

General Types of Tumor

There are two general types of tumors:

Benign tumors

Malignant tumors.

Benign tumors are not cancerous while malignant tumors fall in the category of cancerous tumors.

Main Types of Tumor

There are three main types of tumor:

(1) Benign: These are noncancerous They do not grow or spread to other parts of the body. If they spread, they do so very slowly. They do not recur after their removal.

(2) Premalignant: In such types of tumors, the cells are not cancerous but they have a potential or hidden risk to convert into malignant tumors.

(3) Malignant: They are cancerous. The cells can grow and spread to other distant parts of the body from the original site.

Benign Tumors

Most benign tumors are not harmful. They are not likely to affect other parts of the body. However, they can cause pain.

Examples of benign tumors include:


They develop in glandular epithelial tissue. Adenomas may become adenocarcinomas, which are cancerous. Examples of adenomas include:

  1. Fibroadenomas: These are a common form of benign breast tumor
  2. Hepatic adenomas: They occur in the liver
  3. Polyps in the colon


Fibroids are also called fibromas. Fibroids are benign tumors that can grow on the fibrous or connective tissue of any organ. They may be soft or hard depending on the proportion of fibers to cells. Fibroids can become cancerous fibrosarcomas but it is rare. Their types may include:


They appear as small red bumpy masses on the face.


Dermatofibromas appear on the skin, often on the lower legs.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are common and can cause:

  • Bleeding of vagina
  • Discomfort in the pelvis
  • Pelvic pain
  • Urinary incontinence


They appear as red strawberry-colored marks on the skin. They may also develop inside the body. They are often present at birth and disappear during childhood. These are the type of benign tumors that develop due to the excessive growth of blood vessels.


Lipomas are a form of soft tissue benign tumor and are most common in middle-aged people from 40 60 years old. They are small, painless, rubbery, soft to the touch, and movable. They often appear on the back, arms, buttocks, shoulders,  and the tops of the legs.

Types of Lipomas

Types of lipoma include:

  1. Angiolipomas
  2. Fibrolipomas

Premalignant Tumors:

This type of tumor is not cancerous, but it needs close monitoring. Examples of premalignant tumors are:

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis or solar keratosis is crusty, crusty scaly, thick patches on the skin. This is formed due to sun exposure and is more likely to affect fair-skinned people.

Cervical dysplasia

Cervical dysplasia often stems from the human papillomavirus (HPV). A doctor may find these cells during a Pap smear. A noncancerous change occurs in the cells that line the cervix but later it may become malignant 10–30 years later, resulting in cervical cancer.


Leukoplakia causes painless, slightly raised irregular-shaped thick white patches in the mouth. If it does not go away within two weeks, you must consult your physician.

Metaplasia of the lung

These growths occur in the bronchi of the lungs. The lining of the bronchi contains glandular cells. These can convert into squamous cells or cancerous cells, especially in the people who smoke.

Malignant Tumors:

Malignant tumors are cancerous and develop when cells grow in an uncontrolled way. If the cells tend to spread in an unchecked way, the disease can become life-threatening.

Malignant tumors can spread rapidly to other parts of the body in a process called metastasis. Different types of malignant tumors include:


These develop from developing cells or embryonic tissues. They are more common in children than in adults and cause tumors in the eye, brain, or nervous system.


They develop from epithelial cells and occur in the stomach, prostate, lung, liver, colon, pancreas, or breast.

Germ cell tumor

Germ cell tumors develop in the cells that produce sperm and eggs. They most often occur in the ovaries or testicles. They may also appear in the brain, abdomen, or chest.


These tumors start in connective tissue, such as cartilage, bones, fat, and nerves. Most sarcomas are malignant and originate in the cells outside the bone marrow.

Important tips in the diagnosis of tumors

Some important points about the diagnosis of tumors:

  1. Most cancers don’t hurt at first.
  2. A person can sometimes see or feel a tumor, but others will only show up on imaging tests, such as a mammogram or an MRI.
  3. cancerous bumps appear spontaneously.
  4. Cancers are often found by the detection of a painless lump.
  5. Cancerous tumors are typically large, hard, and painless to touch.
  6. Tumors are hard to detect in the early stages as they are located deep in the tissue.
  7. If the tumor is in the abdomen, it may produce nausea or a sensation of fullness as well as pain.
  8. Soft tissue sarcomas feel like masses or bumps, which may be painful.
  9. To determine a cancerous tumor, a doctor can take a sample of the cells with a biopsy procedure.
  10. A doctor may suggest an MRI diagnose a tumor.

Imaging tests used in the diagnosis of tumor/cancer:

  1. Bone scan
  2. Ultrasound and X-ray
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  4. Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  5. Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  6. Biopsy: DThe doctor collects a sample of tissues for testing in the laboratory.

Tumors vs. Cysts vs. Cancer

Tumors should not be confused for cysts, which are distinct but can be similar. The tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue. CA cyst is a sac containing air, flui,d, or other material. The tumor may be benign or malignant, most cysts are noncancerous. Cancer is a disease in which cells begin to divide uncontrollably. A tumor is when this uncontrolled growth occurs in solid tissue such as an organ, muscle, or bone. Tumors may spread to surrounding tissues through the blood and lymph systems.

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