What does a benign tumor mean

Benign and malignant tumors

Tumors (Tumors, degenerate tissue) arise when the body's own tissue increases excessively and uninhibitedly. Depending on the growth behavior, a distinction is made:

  • Benign tumors (benign tumors). They usually grow slowly and displace the surrounding tissue, but does not migrate into the tissue (non-invasive growth). Benign tumors only threaten the patient's life if they grow in critical areas (e.g. in the brain).
  • Precancerous lesions. These are diseases or tissue changes that are associated with an increased risk of malignant degeneration, e.g. B. papillary growths of the urinary bladder mucosa (papillary bladder tumor).
  • Malignant tumors (malignant tumors, malignancies). They consist of malignant cells, often grow rapidly, invade neighboring tissues (invasive, infiltrating growth) and form Metastases (Daughter tumors). If left untreated, they are usually fatal. Only malignant tumors are considered cancer designated.
  • Semimalignant tumors ("Semi-malignant" tumors). Like malignant tumors, these grow invasively and destructively at their place of origin, but in contrast to these, as a rule, form no Metastases and therefore occupy an intermediate position. The basalioma of the skin is common here.
  • Carcinoma in situ. Here the cells are already strongly changed (highly atypical) and thus show the characteristics of malignancy; however, the tumor does not yet show any invasive growth into adjacent tissue and has therefore not yet metastasized.


Dr. med. Nicole Menche, Dr. med. Arne Schäffler in: Gesundheit heute, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Revision and update: Dr. med. Sonja Kempinski | last changed on at 13:31