What Are Benign Tumors?

A benign tumor is a mass of cells caused by abnormal cell growth that is not associated with cancer. Unlike cancerous tumors, benign tumors do not spread or move to other parts of the body, according to WebMD.

With normal growth, cells divide to produce the new cells needed in the body. When new cells form, the old cells die off. A glitch in the process causes tumors. The old cells don't die like they are supposed to, causing a mass of cells to develop, states MedlinePlus.

Tumors are classified as either malignant or benign. Malignant means the tumor is cancerous. It can spread and move into other parts of the body. Benign tumors remain in their original locations, WebMD explains. A benign tumor typically doesn't cause serious problems, but the location has an impact on the effects of the mass. If a benign tumor presses against organs such as the brain or other internal structures such as nerves or blood vessels, it can cause health problems.

Some benign tumors don't require treatment. The health care provider simply monitors the tumor to ensure no problems develop, states WebMD. In other cases, the doctor uses surgery, medication or radiation treatment to remove or shrink the benign tumor.