Yes, the title of this article is not wrong; there is a kind of tumor that has teeth and hair. The thought alone is disgusting, but if you are interested, keep reading. The type of tumor that is made up of different types of tissue is called a teratoma. It can be made up of things like muscle, bone, teeth, and hair. The places they formed around are most often the tailbone, the ovary, and the testicles. They can appear in other areas, but it is not as common.
Types Of Teratoma
They mostly appear as small lumps, which can make the symptoms minimal. Several complications may arise with teratoma, and they include testicular torsion and ovarian torsion. The teratoma falls under a group called the germ cell tumors. What this means is that they start in cells that create sperm or eggs.
We divide the teratoma into two types - mature and immature. Most medical experts consider the mature type of teratoma to be benign, and they include dermoid cysts, among other things. The situation complicates with immature teratomas because they can be cancerous. However, a definitive diagnosis is always recommended, and it is brought once a tissue biopsy has been performed.
How Often Do They Appear?
The most common way teratomas are treated, is via surgery, although chemotherapy is also used in some cases. Chemotherapy is mostly used in testicular teratomas, especially those that are immature. Teratomas are actually one of the most common tumors in newborns. They appear in about one in 30,000, which is quite often when compared to other diseases of similar types. They also appear in females more often than males. A quarter of all ovarian tumors are ovarian teratomas.
They mostly start to create problems during middle age, and that is when most people start noticing them. Testicular teratomas make up nearly one-half of all of the testicular cancers, which, once again, shows how common they are. Both children and adults are equally susceptible to them.
Why Do They Have Teeth And Hair?
The meaning of the word teratoma perfectly describes them. It comes from the Greek words “teras” and “onkoma,” meaning “monster” and “swelling.” So why do they develop teeth and hair? Simply put, they are a type of germ cell tumor that features actual tissue development. This is different from other tumors that develop just the germ cells themselves. Tumors all almost always made up of cells that continuously reproduce, and where they are located determines the type of cells they are made of.
Teratomas are special because their cells can be of any kind that is found throughout our bodies. This means they replicate as if they were creating those cell types. This is why we often see teeth, hair, bones, and even brains starting to develop in teratomas. It is not a nice sight, that much is certain. Medical experts managed to find many different bodily structures being developed in teratomas. Some of those even include things like fingers and other parts of the body. Theoretically, teratomas are able to create an entire human body from themselves, which is not something we’d like to think about too often!
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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