What Is a Cyst?

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By jolene
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A cyst can be defined as a closed sac or capsule that has formed in the body. It can have a division or distinct membrane and contain semisolid material, air, or fluid. Although there are many different types of cysts, most are benign and noncancerous. Once a cyst has formed, it may resolved on its own or may need to be removed surgically depending on the location and type. A cyst may need treatment if the cyst is causing symptoms such as pain and discomfort or infection.

Cancer-related cysts are believed to be a defense mechanism for the body due to the development of mutations that may lead to uncontrolled cellular division. When this occurs, the body tries to encapsulate the cells to contain the tumor. However, mutation may continue and form new blood vessels that advance to become cancerous.

1. Epidermoid Cysts

An epidermoid cyst is a benign cyst often found on the skin. While some patients have no symptoms, it can also be painful when touched. It is generally found in areas where there is little hair distribution. Although benign, there are some cases where malignant tumors have been reported to arise from an epidermoid cyst. An epidermoid cyst is believed to be caused by the implantation of epidermis into the dermis (deeper layer of the skin) due to surgery or trauma. It can also occur when there is a blocked pore next to a body piercing. Epidermoid cysts can become infected by bacteria and form a pimple-like shape. The cyst can be removed through surgical excision.

Cyst

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