Benign refers to a condition, tumor, or growth that is not cancerous. This means that it does not spread to other parts of the body. It does not invade nearby tissue. Sometimes, a condition is called benign to suggest it is not dangerous or serious.
A tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
In general, a benign tumor grows slowly and is not harmful. However, this is not always the case.
A benign tumor may grow big enough or be found near blood vessels, the brain, nerves, or organs. As a result, it can cause problems without spreading to another part of the body. Sometimes, these problems can be serious.
The opposite of benign is malignant.
The term "malignancy" refers to the presence of cancerous cells that have the ability to spread to other sites in the body (metastasize) or to invade...
Hall JE. Genetic control of protein synthesis, cell function, and cell reproduction. In: Hall JE, ed. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 3.
Benign tumor of the skin - illustration
A spontaneous growth of tissue which forms an abnormal mass is called a tumor. A tumor that is noninvasive and noncancerous is referred to as a benign tumor.
Benign tumor of the skin
Review Date: 1/26/2017
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.