Benign

The word benign may be used to describe tumours that lack all the qualities that would otherwise result in the tumour being classified as malignant (cancerous).

This may be summarised in table form:

Property of Tumour:

Malignant ?

Benign ?

  • Not "self-limited" in its growth, i.e. it may just keep on getting bigger

YES

NO

  • Capable of invading into adjacent tissues (not necessarily of the same type)

YES

NO

  • May be capable of spreading to distant tissues (which is called "metastasizing")

YES

NO

  • NONE of the above

NO

YES

This can be explained more fully by listing properties of tumours and in each case stating if a tumour that has that property is malignant or benign.

Property of tumour:

  • Not "self-limited" in its growth, i.e. it may just keep on getting bigger
    Tumour type: Malignant
  • Capable of invading into adjacent tissues (not necessarily of the same type)
    Tumour type: Malignant
  • May be capable of spreading to distant tissues (which is called "metastasizing")
    Tumour type: Malignant
  • NONE of the above
    Tumour type: Benign

Any particular tumour is either malignant or benign; it cannot be both.


Compare and Contrast:

The opposite of benign is malignant.
That is: A tumour that is not cancerous is benign; a tumour that is cancerous is malignant.

 

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