The difference between benign and malignant lung cancer
If a patient’s lung cancer is diagnosed as benign or malignant; it can have a great influence on the prognosis (life expectancy) and the treatment options for that person. Although both conditions can be life threatening for a person suffering from lung cancer, both are medical terms that must be understood (by the consequences) by any patient diagnosed with cancer.
What is a benign lung cancer tumor?
Generally, benign (a medical word used to describe a medical condition) is used to describe lung cancer tumors that are not specifically dangerous (which do not usually cause death). It is where a mass (lump) or tumor is found to be a nuisance (an annoying problem), although it is not likely to cause the patient’s fatality in which it has been found (benign tumors do not have the ability to spread to other regions). of the body [without metastasis – there is present dissemination]).
What is a malignant lung cancer tumor?
When the word malignant (often synonymous with the word “dangerous”) is used for lung cancer, it usually refers to a tumor that is cancerous. That is, the tumor has the ability to metastasize to other regions of the body (either locally, through the bloodstream or through the lymphatic system). Although, both malignant and benign tumors have certain similarities. For example:
(a) Both have the ability to grow large (size alone has no real influence on whether the tumor is malignant or benign).
(b) Both can be dangerous (malignant because they are cancerous and benign because they have the capacity to grow to a size that can affect the functional capacity of other organs).
(c) Both have the ability to recur locally (usually after an operation has not completely eliminated the tumor [the contaminated cells have been left behind)].
As with their similarities, they also have certain differences, for example:
(a) Generally, benign tumors grow more slowly than those diagnosed as malignant (there are exceptions [certain benign tumors can grow faster than malignant tumors, and vice versa]).
(b) Benign tumors do not metastasize to distant regions of the body as do malignant tumors (malignant tumors metastasize to other regions of the body that destroy important organs in their path).
(c) Malignant tumors often recur in distant regions of the body (those that are not the site of origin).
So, what allows malignant tumors to spread and benign ones not?
When a benign tumor forms, cells make chemicals (adhesion molecules) that cause them to stick together, while malignant tumor cells do not produce the same chemical substance (due to lack of adhesion molecules). the cells separate easily from the main tumor and float to other regions of the body).
Other differences include the following: tissue invasion (malignant), under microscopic investigation there is little similarity, benign tumors can often be removed with surgery alone, with less likelihood of recurrence (benign), systemic effects such as fatigue and weight loss are most common with malignant tumors, and benign tumors have a lower mortality rate.