(from the Latin roots mal-
= "bad" and -genus
= "born") is a medical term used to describe a severe and progressively worsening disease. The term is most familiar as a description of cancer
. A malignant tumor
may be contrasted with a non-cancerous benign tumor
in that a malignancy
is not self-limited in its growth, is capable of invading into adjacent tissues, and may be capable of spreading to distant tissues (metastasizing
), while a benign tumor
has none of those properties. Malignant tumor is synonymous with cancer.
Uses of "malignant"
Non-oncologic disorders referred to as "malignant":