A tumor is a mass of cells not dependent upon an extracellular matrix. These cells can grow on top of each other, creating a mass of abnormal cells. Often a tumor develops its own network of tiny blood vessels to supply itself with nutrient-rich blood, a process called angiogenesis.
There are two general types of tumors. Benign tumors do not invade other tissues and are limited to one site, making surgical removal possible and the odds for a full recovery excellent. Some benign tumors are quite harmless and are not surgically removed unless they are unsightly or uncomfortable. For example, warts are benign tumors of the outer layer of the skin. Although they are usually not dangerous, warts may cause discomfort. Other benign tumors are thought to be precursors to cancerous, or malignant, tumors. Cancerous cells usually become much different from the tissue from which they arise. The ovarian tumor pictured here bears no resemblance to the normal tissue of the ovary.