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Medical Conditions

All parts of the alimentary canal (intestines and accessory organs) can become inflamed for various reasons or can develop abnormal growths. A mass or tumor of the digestive system can be due to inflammation or a neoplasm (tumor). Tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and can range from very benign to very malignant. Malignant tumors always have the potential to grow into or spread to other parts of the body. Benign abnormal growths can get larger but do not spread. Inflammatory diseases can sometimes cause tissue to swell, forming a mass that looks like an abnormal growth. Inflammatory tumors are benign, but sometimes it is difficult to distinguish inflammatory tumors from true cancerous neoplasms.

Stones are a very common cause of inflammation in the pancreas and bilary tract. Stones form when concentrations of certain substances in fluids become unbalanced and turn into solids. Stones can block the natural flow of secretions in ducts or even the intestine.

Inflammation can also be due to irritants that can cause ulcers, which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from cancer.

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