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Mass of abnormal tissue that arises from normal cells, has no useful function, and tends to grow. Cell abnormalities may include increased size or number or loss of characteristics that differentiate their tissue of origin. Cells in malignant tumours (seecancer) have a distorted size, shape, and/or structure. Less differentiated cells tend to grow faster. Malignant tumours invade tissues locally and spread (metastasize) in blood or lymph: the stronger the tendency to metastasize, the more malignant the tumour. Tumours may not cause pain until they press on or invade nerves. Both benign and malignant tumours can press on nearby structures, block vessels, or produce excess hormones, all of which can cause death. Benign tumours remain as a solid mass that can be removed by surgery if accessible; they can consist of various tissues and may become malignant; malignant tumours, though they may remain quiescent for a time, never become benign.
Variants of TUMOUR
tumour or neoplasm
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tumour, visit Britannica.com.