A neoplasm is an abnormal growth of cells, also known as a tumor. Neoplastic diseases are conditions that cause tumor growth. Growth can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Benign tumors usually grow slowly and can’t spread to other tissues. Conversely, malignant tumors can grow at a slow pace, but they can also grow very fast depending on the exact tumor type. Malignant tumors carry the risk of metastasis or spreading to multiple tissues and organs.
In this article, we go over the causes of neoplastic disease, along with the disease’s symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
The exact causes of tumor growth are still being researched. In general, cancerous tumor growth is triggered by DNA mutations within your cells.
Your DNA contains genes that tell cells how to operate, grow, and divide. Your cells can’t function normally when the DNA changes. This change is what causes cells to become cancerous.
There are a number of contributing factors that can cause your genes to mutate and result in benign or malignant tumor growth. Common factors include:
Symptoms of neoplastic disease vary depending on where the neoplasm is located. However, there are a few symptoms that are common across types.
Common symptoms of neoplastic disease include:
- shortness of breath
- abdominal pain
- persistent fatigue
- loss of appetite
- bloody stools
- skin masses
In some cases, neoplastic diseases show no symptoms.
Breast neoplasm symptoms
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a mass or lump. However, not all lumps and masses are cancerous. It’s best to visit a doctor right away if you find a lump. They’ll be able to run tests and confirm or rule out a cancer diagnosis.
If your breast neoplasm is cancerous, you may experience symptoms such as:
- redness or irritation
- change in breast shape
Lymph node neoplasm symptoms
A tumor in your lymph nodes or tissues can cause a noticeable swelling or mass in the affected area. A cancerous neoplasm in your lymph tissues is referred to as lymphoma.
Other symptoms of lymphoma include:
- increased swelling in your neck, armpits, or groin
- weight loss
- night sweats
Skin neoplasm symptoms
Neoplasms can also affect your skin and may result in skin cancer. Some of the most common symptoms associated with this form of cancer include:
- open sores
- itchy or painful rashes
- a mole that may bleed
Diagnosis includes both confirming the neoplastic disease and determining whether the neoplasms are benign or malignant.
Doctors will conduct a thorough examination that will include a review of your medical history, blood tests, and possibly a biopsy of visible masses.
Other tests used to diagnose neoplastic diseases and cancers include:
Your treatment will depend on the size and location of the tumor and on whether it’s benign or malignant. Some begin neoplasms won’t need any immediate treatment. When treatment is needed, it might include:
- Monitoring. Benign growths don’t always need treatment, but a doctor will likely still want to keep an eye on them.
- Surgery. One of the first treatment steps is often to remove the tumor surgically. Doctors might also remove some of the surrounding tissue.
- Ablation. Ablation is a treatment that uses extreme heat or extreme cold to shrink and kill neoplasms.
- Embolization. This treatment cuts off the blood flow to the tumor. This stops growth and kills the tumor.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is common treatment for malignant neoplastic diseases. It’s used to kill cancerous tumor cells in your body.
- Radiation. Radiation treatments can target and kill cancer cells.
- Hormonal therapy. Hormones encourage the growth of some types of neoplasms. Hormone therapy decreases the growth signals for some neoplasms.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy helps your immune system fight cancer cells. It can be used as a treatment for malignant neoplastic disease.
If you notice any unusual growths, moles, or skin rashes, schedule a visit with a doctor. Don’t try to self-diagnose tumors.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a benign neoplasm, a doctor may want to monitor your symptoms to identify any unusual activity. If it grows, you should contact a doctor. Benign tumors can become cancerous over time.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a malignant neoplastic disease such as cancer, you should consult with a doctor about treatment options.
Early diagnosis will give you the best treatment options for your condition.