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Neoplastic Diseases

Dividing Cells

What are neoplastic diseases?

Neoplastic diseases are conditions that cause an abnormal and excessive growth of cells in a certain confined area, which is called a neoplasm or tumor.

Tumors can be benign (these are noncancerous and can’t spread to other tissues) or malignant (these are capable of invading and destroying nearby tissue and may spread [metastasize]) to other parts of the body).

What causes neoplastic disease?

Experts do not exactly know why some people develop neoplastic disease and others don’t, but abnormal cell growth is usually triggered by DNA mutations that occur within your cells. These mutations allow cells to keep dividing, out-of-control, instead of dying and being replaced by a new cell. When these out-of-control cells cluster together they form a lump called a neoplasm or tumor. Tumors can form in almost any area of the body.

Several environmental and other factors have been associated with DNA mutations and subsequent benign or malignant tumor growth, for example:

  • Increasing age
  • Individual genetics; certain ethnicities or families have a higher risk of certain neoplastic diseases compared with others
  • Chemical toxin exposure
  • Dietary factors, such as excess red meat or a lack of fruit or vegetables
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Geographical location
  • Hormones
  • Immune disorders
  • Obesity
  • Overexposure to radiation
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Smoking
  • Viruses.

What are the symptoms of neoplastic diseases?

Some neoplastic diseases may cause no symptoms whereas others may cause general symptoms such as:

  • Anemia
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness or persistent fatigue.

Other symptoms vary depending on where the neoplasm is located, for example:

  • Gastrointestinal neoplastic disease: Abdominal pain, diarrhea/constipation, a lump in the abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
  • Breast neoplastic disease: Tenderness, pain, swelling, or irritation in the breast, a change in breast shape, a lump in the breast, or a discharge from the nipples
  • Lymph node neoplastic disease: Swelling or a lump in the armpits, neck, or groin; weight loss; night sweats
  • Skin neoplastic diseases: Moles that may bleed, wounds that don’t heal.

How are neoplastic diseases diagnosed?

Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any persistent symptoms that are unusual for you or you have found a lump somewhere in your body.

Your doctor will take a history and perform a physical examination. They may also order some tests, such as a full blood count, imaging studies (such as a CT, MRI or PET scan; ultrasounds; or X-rays); mammograms, colonoscopies or endoscopies. If a mass is found, a biopsy may be undertaken.

How are neoplastic diseases treated?

Treatment depends on whether the neoplastic disease is benign or malignant and may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy.

Monitoring may be all that is recommended in some people with benign Neoplastic Disease.