These tumors are not cancerous. They are localized with well-defined markings. Most of them are harmless and may not need immediate intervention. They grow slowly and do not spread to other sites. However, they can produce pressure symptoms, which can cause discomfort, or they can be unappealing cosmetically. They can be locally invasive or apply pressure on surrounding structures. Once surgically removed, they generally do not recur at the same place. Rarely, benign tumors may turn malignant.
Common benign tumors include:
- Adenomas: Adenomas develop from glandular epithelial tissue that covers the glands, organs, and other structures in the body. Examples include polyps in the colon, fiber adenoma in the breast, hepatic (liver) adenoma. There is a small risk of some adenomas becoming cancerous; this is called adenocarcinoma.
- Fibroids or fibromas: These are benign tumors that arise from fibrous or connective tissue anywhere in the body. Examples include uterine fibroids in the uterus and angiofibroma (appear as small red bumps on the face). Fibroids may need to be surgically removed if they cause symptoms. Rarely, fibroids can become cancerous; this is called fibrosarcoma.
- Hemangiomas: Hemangiomas are benign tumors that arise when blood vessels grow excessively. They can develop inside the body or on the skin. They usually appear as red “strawberry marks” on the skin. They are often present at birth and may disappear with age. Laser surgery may be done if they don’t disappear on their own.
- Lipomas: Lipomas are quite common benign tumors commonly affecting people aged 40-60 years but can occur at any age. Lipomas are painless, rubbery, soft to the touch, and movable. They can vary in size but are generally small and may be seen in different parts of the body. They are commonly seen on the back, shoulders, arms, buttocks, and thighs. There are different types of lipoma, such as fibrolipoma (contain fat cells and fibrous connective tissue) and angiolipomas (appear under the skin).