Types of benign lung tumors

Updated November 21, 2016

Benign lung tumours are classified into different groups, but all are non-cancerous masses that may be removed surgically. Despite the fact that these nodules are not actually cancer, they should still be looked at by a medical professional to ensure that there are no potentially malignant lesions present on the lungs. Although these tumours rarely threaten a patient's life, they can cause harmful symptoms and illnesses and should be handled seriously.


Three primary kinds of benign tumours are found in the lungs.

Hamaratomas make up 75 per cent of benign lung tumours, the most common type found. They can occur in children, but the majority of these are found in adults and are located on the edges of the lungs. Bronchial adenomas account for half of all benign pulmonary tumours. This term also includes characinoid tumours and mucoepidermoid carcinomas, both of which are actually low-level malignant lung tumours. Mucous gland adenomas are the third main type of benign lung tumour. They're completely malignancy-free, found in the main or smaller bronchi.


Regardless of type, most benign lung tumours arise on the lung's outer periphery. These non-life-threatening nodules can also be found within the lungs' centrally located tracheobronchal tree. The most common type of benign lung tumour, hamaratomas, occur on the lungs' periphery and are generally made up of fat, cartilage and epithelial cell tissue. They are firm and marble-like growths. Bronchial adenomas sprout from mucous glands and tracheal (or windpipe) ducts and are identified by their ability to spread very slowly, since they are low-grade malignant tumours. Found in both the main and local bronchi, mucous gland adenomas are column-like in appearance and are sometimes shaped like small mushrooms.

Time Frame

The average patient diagnosed with benign lung tumours is 45 to 50 years old, and the incidence of the hamaratoma benign lung tumour peaks in patients from 50 to 60. Meanwhile, a mere 6 per cent of common benign tumours of the lung have been found in patients younger than 30. These cases are also very rare among children and adolescents.


Doctors can opt to perform surgery to remove benign lung tumours, and do so primarily to ensure there are no potentially harmful lesions on the lungs. Cancer-free lung masses are also frequently removed in cases where they provoke troublesome symptoms, such as pneumonia or collapsing lung tissue.


Detecting the symptoms of benign lung tumours are key in leading to their diagnosis and removal. Symptoms include a range of behaviours such as persistent coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing up of blood, fever or a rattling sound in the lungs. Although non-cancerous tumours of the lung generally don't endanger a patient's health, some can obstruct the lungs, facilitating pneumonia, lung tissue collapse and difficulty breathing.

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