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Benign

Definition

"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 change or destroy nearby tissue. Sometimes, a condition is called benign to suggest it is not dangerous or serious.

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.


Review Date: 1/13/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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