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Author Topic: Are benign and malignant tumours treated differently?  (Read 888 times)

Offline thedoc

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Monica asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi, my question is about benign and malignant tumors. What are the possible treatment methods available to treat a benign tumor and a malignant tumor. If a patient has a benign tumor do they have to undergo a certain treatment whereas if they had a malignant tumor they would undergo a different treatment or is the same method of treatment conducted even though the risk factor is higher for one than the other? My other question is how effective is the type of treatment provided (e.g. recovery rate...)?

Many thanks.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 30/09/2015 05:50:01 by _system »


 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Are benign and malignant tumours treated differently?
« Reply #1 on: 30/09/2015 11:09:44 »
Note: This site can only give very general advice - so talk to your oncologist (cancer specialist).

There are very many types of tumors, and it is not always obvious which ones are benign and which ones will become malignant (until they already have become malignant).

Quote from: Monica
What are the possible treatment methods available to treat a benign tumor and a malignant tumor
Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy are common treatments for cancer.

Each of these therapies all carry their own risks to life and wellbeing.
  • These risks are unnecessary for a benign cancer.
  • The risks are usually justified for a malignant cancer - but to minimize the risks, these interventions are best carried out while the cancer is small, and before it spreads (ie while it still looks benign!). 
Quote
If a patient has a benign tumor do they have to undergo a certain treatment
A form of treatment which is becoming much more common today for benign tumors is "watchful waiting" - not taking any specific treatment, but regularly monitoring the tumor to detect and act as soon as it looks like turning malignant.

Modern diagnostic techniques like high resolution MRI and CT scans often accidentally detect small tumors when looking for something else - tumors that would never have been detected in previous generations. Many of these will never go on to become malignant and endanger the patient.

Screening campaigns for breast cancer, prostate and bowel cancer actively look for cancers - and often find them. But after many years of breast and prostate screening, it has been found that surgery rates are at an all-time high, but population death rates from these conditions have not really changed. The conclusion here is the similar - many of these cancers would not have gone on to become malignant and endanger the patient. However, the previous default of invasive treatment would have harmed more patients than were saved.

Bowel cancer is probably in a different category, as studies have shown that screening will do more good than harm.

So there are risks and advantages of doing immediate surgery or doing "watchful waiting" - you need to weigh up the risks and advantages in each case with a cancer specialist.
 

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Re: Are benign and malignant tumours treated differently?
« Reply #1 on: 30/09/2015 11:09:44 »

 

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