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A tumour with a tooth! (and hair and bone!)

Something that is so ghastly it shouldn’t be real! A teratoma is a type of germ cell tumour. It can contain human tissue such as teeth, hair, bone and muscle. It can be cancerous or non-cancerous and affect people of all ages. They're typically quite gnarly in appearance and can be found anywhere in the body but are primarily seen in the ovaries, testes or coccyx, ouch!

Germ cells are undifferentiated cells, which means they can develop into any type of cell. A teratoma develops when there is a change or disruption during the cell’s differentiation process meaning they do not differentiate and develop as they should.

Teratomas can be diagnosed with imaging and biopsy. The symptoms of a teratoma include swelling, bleeding and pain and can be classified as mature or immature.

Mature teratomas include dermoid cysts and are typically benign.

Immature teratomas typically become cancerous.

Treatment is available and survival of cancerous teratomas is very high. They are generally removed surgically to prevent the spread and growth of cancerous tissue.

The name teratoma has a Greek origin with tera meaning monster and -oma being the suffix used for tumours.

Grab your tickets to The Post Mortem Live here - new dates have been added for 2023!


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