What causes tumors?


Quick Answer

Benign tumors are the result of abnormal cell growth that can be caused by factors such as radiation exposure, genetic mutations, infections, stress and trauma, explains WebMD. Cancerous tumors are caused by a traveling cancer cell in the body that damages tissues and begins dividing, notes Medical News Today.

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Full Answer

In many cases, doctors are unable to determine what precise factor caused a benign tumor to grow in a patient's body, explains WebMD. A benign tumor is not cancerous and does not spread beyond its origin point or invade neighboring tissues, so the prognosis is usually good. However, there are cases in which benign tumors pose danger or cause troubling symptoms because they press against important organs, nerves or blood vessels.

When a cancer cell forms and travels through the blood or lymphatic system, it causes destruction to tissues in its path, notes Medical News Today. Eventually, that cell begins the process of angiogenesis, by which it develops its own blood vessels through which it can feed itself so that it can reproduce and grow into a tumor. Whereas regular bodily cells undergo apoptosis, or programmed death, cancerous cells do not, so they uncontrollably continue to divide and expand in size. Inherited genetic mutations, exposure to carcinogens and certain viruses can cause a cell to develop into a cancer cell, explains Medical News Today.

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