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Doctor insights on: How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Malignant And A Benign Tumor

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How can you tell the difference between a malignant and a benign tumor?

How can you tell the difference between a malignant and a benign tumor?

Biopsy: A biopsy is the only way to tell if a tumor is malignant. A pathologist will examine the cells under the microscope and decide. ...Read more

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Malignant (Definition)

The term malignant can be used in several medical contexts, but is primarily used to describe cancers. More dangerous and disorderly than the benign growth of cells, malignant cells have developed genetic changes that can allow it to invade other tissues in an unregulated way. These tumors can later spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body and ...Read more


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How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor?

How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor?

H&P important: A lot depends on the location of the tumor, the age of the patient and other factors like how it feels. This is what is called the history and physical and it's why your doctor asks a lot of nosy questions. The h&p will give us answers in 80% of cases but the rest will require testing, like special scans or biopsies. Even then, there are a few cases which are hard to know for sure! ...Read more

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How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor when you look at it?

Yes: Malignant cells don't look like normal cells, and these differences can be seen when the biopsy is examined by the pathologist under the microscope. ...Read more

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Can an US tell the difference between an benign tumor or malignant on the kidney or is it to hard to tell? Is MRI the better route?

Can an US tell the difference between an benign tumor or malignant on the kidney or is it to hard to tell? Is MRI the better route?

Can be tricky: U/S is good for simple cysts with no solid parts or wall irregularity (pictured). Beyond that it is a betting game. U/S has a much harder time characterizing solid masses. MRI and/or good contrast CT provide MUCH more info, but even then tissue diagnosis by imaging alone is sometimes tricky. Needle biopsy is back in vogue: http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(07)00779-3/pdf ...Read more

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What is the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor in terms of how it looks or feels?

You can't: A tissue biopsy is the best way. The pathologist will look at it and based on its characteristic can differentiate between both. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor in somebody's brain? Are both deadly?

What is the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor in somebody's brain?  Are both deadly?

Cell type; could be: The brain is a confined space. Therefore, even a benign tumor may cause pressure or grow in a way that it kills a person, even though it is benign. Malignant tumors are usually based on the cell type, the number of cells in division, and the presence of necrosis (cell death). The most common malignant tumor is a glioblastoma multiforme. However, metastatic tumors to the brain are common. ...Read more

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Please tell me, are benign tumors malignant when they are growing?

Benign tumors: Benign tumors can and do grow, and some benign tumors have potential to become malignant. Just because a benign tumor is growing doesn't mean it is malignant. However, best to see your doctor to figure out whether a tumor is benign or malignant. ...Read more

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How can I tell between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor?

How can I tell between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor?

H&P important: A lot depends on the location of the tumor, the age of the patient and other factors like how it feels. This is what is called the history and physical and it's why your doctor asks a lot of nosy questions. The h&p will give us answers in 80% of cases but the rest will require testing, like special scans or biopsies. Even then, there are a few cases which are hard to know for sure! ...Read more

Neoplasms (Definition)

"tumor" literally translates as "mass", so even a fresh bruise could be called a "tumor". Doctors use the term "neoplasm" (tranlates literally as new growth) to describe tumors that are abnormal growths of cells. These may be benign or malignant; "malignant" = cancer. In everyday usage, we use "tumor" ...Read more


Dr. Jeffrey Satinover
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Benign Tumor (Definition)

A tumor by any other name is a growth. It can be either benign or malignant, differentiated based upon the potential to spread (a malignant tumor is, by definition, a cancer). The best way to determine this is by a tissue biopsy, but we can make better predictions based on the organ of origin, physical ...Read more