Benign Tumours

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 28 April 2021

Benign tumours

A tumour is an abnormal growth of cells that has no function. A benign tumour is not the same as a cancerous tumour. It does not infiltrate nearby tissue or spread to other areas of the body in the same manner as cancer does. In certain cases, benign tumours have a rather positive prognosis. However, benign tumours that strain against vital structures like blood vessels or nerves can be dangerous. As a result, they may or may not need medical treatment.


What causes a benign tumour to develop? The cause is often unclear. However, the development of a benign tumour may be related to:

  • Toxins in the environment, such as radiation exposure
  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Injury or a local trauma
  • Inflammation or infection

Common Types of Benign tumours

There are several different types of benign tumours that arise from various body structures. The following are some of the more common benign tumours:

Adenomas are benign tumours that begin in the epithelial tissue of a gland or gland-like structure.  The thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures is known as epithelial tissue. A polyp in the colon is a common type of adenoma. Adenomas may grow in the liver, as well as the adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid glands.

Adenomas can be surgically removed if necessary. This type of tumour may become cancerous, despite its rarity. Adenomas in the colon become cancerous in less than one out of every ten cases.

Fibromas (also known as fibroids) are fibrous or connective tissue tumours that can grow in any organ. Fibroids are often found in the uterus. Uterine fibroids, while not cancerous, may cause excessive vaginal bleeding, bladder problems, or pelvic pain or pressure.

Desmoid tumours are another kind of fibrous tissue tumour. By spreading into surrounding tissues, these tumours may cause complications.

Fibrous tissue tumours may require surgery to be removed because they can cause symptoms.

Hemangiomas are the growth of blood vessel cells that accumulate in the skin or internal organs. Hemangiomas are a type of birthmark that commonly appear on the head, neck, or trunk. They may be reddish or bluish in colour. Most of them disappear on their own. If your symptoms are interfering with your vision, hearing, or eating, you will need to take corticosteroids or other medications.

Lipomas develop from fat cells. They’re the most common benign tumour in adults, and they’re most often located in the neck, shoulders, back, and arms. Lipomas are slow-growing, soft-to-the-touch masses that are normally round and movable. They can run in families, and they can even be the result of an injury. If a lipoma is painful or rapidly growing, treatment may be required. Steroid injections, as well as liposuction or surgery, may be used.

Lipoblastomas, which occur in young children, and hibernomas are two other types of benign fat tumours.

Tumours that arise from the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord are known as meningiomas. Nine out of ten are benign. Many have a sluggish growth rate. Others grow at a faster rate. The type of treatment depends on where the meningioma is located and what symptoms it causes. Headaches and weakness on one hand, seizures, personality changes, and visual problems are also possible symptoms.

The doctor may decide to keep an eye on the tumour for a while. If surgery is required, the result is determined by your age, the tumour’s location, and whether it is connected to anything. tumours that cannot be removed can be treated with radiation.

Muscle-derived tumours are known as myomas. Smooth muscle, which can be found in internal organs like the stomach and uterus, leads to leiomyomas. They can start in the blood vessel walls. Fibroids are leiomyomas that grow in the uterus. Rhabdomyoma is a rare benign skeletal muscle tumour. Simply keeping an eye on these tumours is possible. They may be shrunk with medication or surgically removed to cure symptoms.

Nevi (moles) are skin growths. They come in a variety of colours, ranging from pink and tan to brown and black. You should get new moles until you’re about 40 years old. Dysplastic nevi (moles that don’t appear like regular moles) are more prone to transform into a form of skin cancer (melanoma). As a result, it is important to get your skin checked by a health care professional regularly. This is particularly relevant if your moles are different in appearance, grow or change shape, have irregular borders, or change colour or visual appearance in any way. A mole-like this will need to be removed in order to check for signs of cancer.

Neuromas are grown from nerves. Neurofibromas and schwannomas are two other types of nerve tumours. These benign nerve tumours may appear almost anywhere in the body’s nerve. Neurofibromas are more common in people who have neurofibromatosis, an inherited condition. The most common treatment for benign nerve tumours is surgery.

The most common benign bone tumour is osteochondromas. These tumours often present themselves as painless lump or bumps around a joint, such as the knee or shoulder. Sometimes, the doctor would just use X-rays to monitor this benign tumour. If the tumour causes symptoms such as pain or pressure on nerves or blood vessels, surgery may be required.

tumours that grow from epithelial tissue and project in finger-like fronds are known as papillomas. They may be either benign or cancerous. They may grow in a variety of places, including the skin, cervix, breast duct, and mucous membrane covering the inside of the eyelid (conjunctiva). Close interaction with an infection like the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause these tumours. Some papillomas will go away on their own. Surgery may be needed in some instances to rule out cancer.


Benign tumours often do not need treatment. To ensure that they do not cause any complications, doctors may simply use “watchful waiting." However, if symptoms are a concern, treatment may be necessary. For benign tumours, surgery is a common treatment option. The aim is to get rid of the tumour without causing any damage to the surrounding tissues. Medication or radiation are two other options for treatment.


Referenced on 26.4.2021

  1. Brigham and Women’s Hospital: “Facts about Meningiomas."
  2. Cleveland Clinic: “Benign Soft Tissue tumors."
  3. American Cancer Society: “Salivary Gland Cancer."
  4. UCSF Medical Center: “Fibroids."
  5. American Cancer Society: “What is a soft tissue sarcoma?"
  6. Children’s Hospital Boston: “Hemangioma."
  7. American Academy of Family Physicians: “Lipomas."
  8. American Brain tumor Association: “Meningioma."
  9. National Cancer Institute: “What You Need to Know About Moles and Dysplastic Nevi."
  10. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Osteochondroma (Bone tumor)."
  11. Cleveland Clinic: “Benign Bone tumors."
  12. eMedicine: “Papilloma, Conjunctival: Treatment & Medication."

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