When it comes to cancer, most people think of lung, breast, or prostate cancer. However, cancer can develop in any part of the body, including the spleen. The spleen is an organ located in the upper left side of the abdomen, near the stomach. It helps filter the blood, fight infections, and regulate the body’s fluid balance. In this article, we will discuss splenic tumours, their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
What Are Splenic Tumours?
Splenic tumours are abnormal growths that develop in the spleen. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The most common types of splenic tumours are:
- Splenic cysts
- Splenic artery aneurysms
- Splenic lymphomas
- Splenic metastases (cancer that has spread from another part of the body)
Causes of Splenic Tumours
The exact causes of splenic tumours are unknown. However, certain factors may increase the risk of developing them, such as:
- Genetic mutations
- Exposure to radiation
- Chronic infections
- Autoimmune diseases
- Age (splenic tumours are more common in people over 50)
Symptoms of Splenic Tumours
Most people with splenic tumours do not experience any symptoms. However, if the tumour grows large enough, it may cause:
- Pain or discomfort in the upper left side of the abdomen
- Fullness or bloating after eating
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Unexplained weight loss
Diagnosis of Splenic Tumours
If your doctor suspects that you have a splenic tumour, they may perform the following tests:
- Blood tests to check for anemia or signs of infection
- Ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to visualize the spleen and any abnormalities
- Biopsy (removing a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope) to determine if the tumour is cancerous or not
Treatment of Splenic Tumours
The treatment for splenic tumours depends on the type, size, and location of the tumour, as well as the person’s overall health. Treatment options may include:
- Observation (monitoring the tumour over time to see if it grows or changes)
- Surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy)
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancerous tumours
- Embolization (blocking the blood supply to the tumour) for certain types of tumours
Q: Can splenic tumours be prevented?
A: There is no known way to prevent splenic tumours. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding exposure to radiation may reduce the risk of developing them.
Q: Is it possible to live without a spleen?
A: Yes, it is possible to live without a spleen. However, people who have had their spleen removed are at higher risk of infections, particularly from certain types of bacteria.
Q: Are all splenic tumours cancerous?
A: No, not all splenic tumours are cancerous. In fact, most splenic tumours are benign and do not require treatment.
Q: How long does it take to recover from a splenectomy?
A: The recovery time after a splenectomy varies depending on the person’s age, overall health, and the reason for the surgery. In general, it takes about 4-6 weeks to recover fully.
Q: Can splenic tumours recur after treatment?
A: Yes, splenic tumours can recur after treatment, particularly if they are cancerous. Regular follow-up appointments with a doctor are important to monitor for any signs of recurrence.
Splenic tumours are abnormal growths that develop in the spleen. They can be benign or malignant and may cause symptoms such as pain, fullness, anemia, and fatigue. Diagnosis usually involves blood tests, imaging, and biopsy. Treatment options may include observation, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. While there is no known way to prevent splenic tumours, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding exposure to radiation may reduce the risk of developing them.