Tumors: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
The terms tumor and cancer are often used interchangeably by us and can be confused. In fact, tumors and cancer are different things. The word tumor simply refers to a mass or lump in the body. Check out an explanation of the symptoms, causes, and how to treat it in the following review.
What is a Tumor?
Tumor is a general term used to describe a lump in the body that originates from the excessive growth of normal tissue—or tissue that should have died.
Tumors can occur in all parts of the body and can be benign or malignant. If you get excessive stimulation or stimuli, a benign tumor can turn into a malignant or cancerous one.
A benign tumor (benign tumors) can still develop and usually only causes damage to nearby tissues or organs. While malignant tumors (cancer), usually have been found to spread elsewhere.
For example, a lump filled with fluid, scar tissue or even fat can meet the definition of a tumor. While cancer itself is a type of tumor that threatens.
Types of Tumors
Each type is named based on the shape and type of tissue in which this condition occurs. In general, these conditions are divided into three, including:
1. Benign Tumors
This type of tumor cannot spread or grows very slowly. In addition, benign tumors are harmless and have no risk of affecting other parts of the body.
However, this condition can cause pain or other problems if the condition presses on nerves or blood vessels. For example like:
Fibroids or fibromas are benign tumors that can grow in fibrous tissue. Some fibromas can cause symptoms and may require surgery. In quite rare cases, fibroids can turn into fibrosarcoma which is cancer.
These benign tumors form when there is an excessive number of blood vessels. This condition can appear as a mark like a red strawberry shape on the skin or in some cases develop in the body. Generally, hemangioma conditions appear at birth and disappear during childhood.
These lumps or tumors develop in glandular epithelial tissue, which is the thin membrane that covers glands, organs, and other structures in the body.
Most lipomas are small, painless, tender to the touch, and moveable. This type of benign tumor is formed from fat cells. Usually, it appears on the back, shoulders, arms, buttocks, or upper legs.
2. Semi-Malignant Tumors (Pre-Cancer)
In this condition, tumor cells have not yet developed into cancer, but have the potential to become malignant. For example like:
In this condition, changes occur in the cells lining the cervix. It is possible that these cells were found when examining pap smear. Dysplastic semi-malignant tumors often originate from hhuman papillomavirus (HPV) infection that generally attacks young people.
Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a growth involving patches of crusty, scaly, and thick skin. Actinic keratosis tends to occur in fair-skinned people. Sun exposure can increase the risk of this tumor condition.
These tumor growths occur in the bronchi (tubes that carry air to the lungs). There is a lining in the bronchi that contains glandular cells. In some people, including smokers, these gland cells can turn into cancer.
3. Malignant Tumors
Malignant tumors can also be called cancer. The process of malignant tumor growth tends to be fast and spread to other body tissues or is called metastasis.
Cancer cells can move to other parts of the body with the same cells, but unfortunately these cells have the ability to attack other organs. Examples of these conditions are:
Carcinomas are formed from epithelial cells. These cells are located in the skin and tissues that line the organs of the body. Malignant carcinoma tumors can occur in the stomach, pancreas, prostate, colon, lung, or breast.
Although they sound similar, sarcomas are different from carcinomas. This condition appears in connective tissue in the body, such as bone, cartilage, fat, and nerves. These malignant tumor cells are known to originate from cells outside the bone marrow.
The blastoma forms from the developing embryonic tissue or cells. This disease condition is more common in children and causes tumors in the brain, eyes, or central nervous system.
Also read: Often Considered the Same, Recognize the Differences between Malignant and Benign Tumors
The main symptom of a tumor is the formation of a lump that can be seen on the outside of the body, but does not rule out the possibility that it can also appear on the inside of the body so that it cannot be seen with the naked eye.
In addition, tumors can also cause other symptoms depending on the type, location and degree of severity of the tumor itself.
Other tumor symptoms that may be caused by tumors include:
- Drastic weight loss for no apparent reason.
- Decreased appetite.
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising.
- Pain where the tumor is located.
- Weak or pale.
- Sometimes it can be accompanied by a decrease in consciousness for cases of severe tumors.
- Change in skin color where the tumor is.
When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?
If you find symptoms like the one above, immediately consult a doctor to get treatment as early as possible. Especially if the lump continues to grow in size.
Even though many lump conditions are classified as benign, it’s a good idea to still consult a doctor after detecting new growths or symptoms that refer to tumor conditions. For example skin lesions or moles that look unusual.
Causes of Tumors
The exact cause of a tumor is still not known with certainty, and can vary depending on the type of tumor. This mass usually arises as a result of an imbalance between growth and cell regeneration.
Excessive growth of new cells or cells that should die but still live can cause a tumor to form.
Tumor Risk Factors
The following are several factors that can increase the risk of developing a tumor, including:
- Poor diet, for example, often consuming foods with artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and sodium cyclamate), fatty foods, burnt foods (because they contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons And carcinogenic), food with preservatives.
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Often exposed to sunlight.
- Genetics (family history of previous tumors)
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Exposure to radiation rays, such as rongen or CT scans.
- Exposure to chemicals (arsenic or asbestos).
- Take immunosuppressive drugs.
How Common is Tumor Disease?
Tumors are a common condition, not only in adults, tumors can also be experienced by children. Millions of people are diagnosed with various types of tumors each year.
However, tumors can be treated by reducing several factors that can increase the risk and consulting a doctor as early as possible.
Usually the doctor will carry out a series of examinations starting from patient interviews (history), physical examination, and several other supporting examinations.
The following are several types of supporting examinations that are generally needed by doctors to determine tumors, including:
1. Complete Blood Examination
This examination is generally done to see if one of the blood components is impaired or not, such as in patients with leukemia.
2. Urine test
This examination is also often requested by doctors when problems with the urinary system are suspected.
3. Tumors markers
Is a supporting examination to detect the presence of tumor cells. This examination is usually specific for certain types of tumor disease.
4. X-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI
This examination is usually needed to determine the location, size, and spread of certain tumors.
Is an examination to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant.
Also read: Getting to Know Biopsy, Procedures for Analyzing Abnormal Tissues in the Body
Treatment for each tumor varies depending on its location, shape, size, nature, type and spread. For benign tumors that are small and do not cause symptoms, usually do not require any treatment.
Doctors usually recommend carrying out periodic checks to see the development of the tumor.
However, if the tumor causes symptoms such as pain, interferes with aesthetics or interferes with the function of certain organs, the doctor will usually recommend removing the tumor starting from surgical or laser techniques.
As for malignant or cancerous tumors, patients usually need to get special treatment such as:
- Chemotherapy. Therapy using anticancer drugs.
- Radiotherapy. Cancer therapy using special high-energy rays to suppress the development of cancer cells and to prevent the spread of cancer cells.
- Hormonal therapy. Therapy that uses hormonal drugs to suppress the growth of cancer cells.
- Surgery. This method is usually combined with other therapies such as chemoradiotherapy.
- Immunotherapy. Therapy is carried out by increasing the patient’s immune system to fight the development of cancer cells themselves.
Basically, treatment is done with degree of severity and complications caused by the tumor cells.
Most types of cancer can be prevented by adopting healthy living habits from a young age and avoiding cancer-causing factors. Some steps you can take include:
- Reduce fatty foods.
- Increase intake of fibrous foods, green vegetables and fruits.
- Eat lots of fresh food.
- Reduce food that has been preserved or stored for too long.
- Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Do not have multiple sexual partners
- Do not smoke
- Manage stress well.
- Check your body’s health regularly.
- Anonymous. Tumor. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001310.htm. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
- Anonymous. 2021. Tumor. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21881-tumor. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
- Anonymous. 2022. Benign Tumors. https://www.healthline.com/health/benign. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
- Selchick Faith. 2022. What are The Different Types of Tumors?. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249141. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
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