What is a neoplasm? In short, it’s another term for cancer. The term neoplasm refers to an abnormal growth of tissue caused by the rapid division of cells that have undergone some form of mutation. The body is made up of trillions of cells that grow, divide, and die in an orderly fashion. This process is a tightly regulated one that is controlled by the DNA machinery within the cell. When a person is growing up, the cells of the body rapidly divide, but once adulthood is reached, cells generally only divide to replace worn-out, dying cells or to repair injured cells.
Neoplasia describes when these cells proliferate in an abnormal manner that is not coordinated with the surrounding tissue. These rogue cells (neoplastic cells) cannot be controlled in the way that normal cells can because they do not die when they should and they divide more quickly. As this excessive growth persists, a lump or tumor that has no purpose or function in the body is eventually formed. This is referred to as a neoplasm and it may be non-cancerous (benign), precancerous (premalignant) or cancerous (malignant).