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Teratoma: what is it? Causes and symptoms

Teratoma: what is it? Causes and symptoms

A teratoma is a tumor, which can be either benign or malignant. It is quite rare, that is why it is very important to learn about its causes and symptoms.

A teratoma is a rare tumor which comes from undifferentiated germ cells, which can differentiate and evolve. Its evolution gives origin to body tissues. That is why inside the tumor can grow bones, muscle, cartilaginous and epithelial tissue and, in rare cases, teeth.

This tumor is also called “monster” because it has some human features. Its name comes from the Greek “téras”, which means monster, and –oma, associated with tumors.

Teratoma: causes and development

Its causes are unknown. However, doctors know that this tumor is born from the autonomous development of embryo cells. They become independent and grow, just like a fetus does.

If it develops like a cysts, it is a benign teratoma. Instead, if this kind of embryo cells isolate and develop independently, it is a malignant or borderline tumor.

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Teratoma: symptoms

How to recognize this type of tumor? It depends on its position. Among its symptoms, there are: weight loss, abdominal bloating, fatigue, amenorrhea, ovary pain.

Although in literature there are cases of huge teratomas, causing pain because they pressed against the other organs, the most common one is the ovary teratoma. Usually, they are discovered by chance, during other check ups.

They are quite frequent, even though they represent the 3% of all teratomas in fertile women under 30. After the histological examination, doctor evaluate if it is malignant or not. If it is, the cure involves surgical removal and chemotherapy, but not radiotherapy, as this tumor is radio resistant. Doctors recommend surgical removal also in case of benign teratoma.

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