Benign Liver Tumors
Hemangiomas, Hepatic Adenomas & Focal Nodular Hyperplasia
A tumor (also called neoplasm) is the abnormal growth of cells and/or tissues. Tumors are either benign or malignant, and are unregulated by the natural control mechanisms of the body.Below are the different kinds of benign liver tumors.
Types of Benign LIver Tumors
Hemangiomas are the most common type of benign liver tumor. They start in blood vessels. Because most of these tumors do not cause symptoms, they do not need treatment. But some may bleed and need to be removed by surgery.
Hepatic adenomas are benign tumors that start from the main type of liver cells. Most do not cause symptoms and do not need treatment. But if they cause stomach pain, a mass in the belly, or blood loss, they may need to be removed.
Focal Nodular Hyperplasia
Focal nodular hyperplasia, or FNH, is a tumor-like growth of several cell types. Although FNH tumors are benign, it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart from true liver cancers. If there are symptoms, the tumor can be removed.
Differences Between Benign and Malignant Tumors
Invasion and Metastasis
Malignant tumors are spread by metastasis and invasion while benign tumors cannot be spread by either metastasis or invasion. Metastasis (also called metastatic disease or mets) is the ability of cancerous cells to spill, leak or break away from their site of origin (pancreas, prostate, kidney, breast, lung or colon), or primary tumor, and enter the blood and lymphatic vessels. These cancerous cells are deposited within healthy tissues of the body, where they multiply and grow--affecting vital organs. Most malignant cancers are capable of metastasizing. Malignant tumors are also spread by invasion--the process in which cancerous cells invade the blood vessels. Benign tumors, on the other hand, grow locally at the site of the original tumor.
Benign Tumors Have Far Less Risk
Benign tumors are significantly less dangerous than malignant tumors. Benign tumors by themselves are not life threatening, but may result in complications if they press on vital body organs, such as the liver.
Benign tumors are typically treated with surgery, and it is uncommon for the original tumor to reappear. Malignant tumors are primarily treated and managed by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, endoscopic procedures and surgery. Benign Tumors can sometimes grow large enough to cause problems, but most of the time they do not go into nearby tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. If they need to be treated, they can usually be cured by removing them during surgery.
Text on this page, were reproduced, in whole or in part, from the websites of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at http://www.cancer.gov/, the originator of the content. Any modifications, including explanatory or supplemental material, were added to enhance the reader's understanding.