Solid Tumors

When abnormal cells are produced in your body, they can form a mass or tumor. Solid tumors usually do not contain cysts or liquid areas and are initially classified as benign or malignant. Benign tumors are non-cancerous and do not spread to other parts of the body, while malignant tumors are cancerous and can spread to other areas of the body if left untreated.

Where Can Solid Tumors Occur?

Solid tumors can occur in many parts of your body and are grouped into three major categories based on where they begin:

  • Carcinoma: begins in the epithelial tissues, such as the skin or in tissues that compose internal organs (e.g., lung cancer and colorectal cancer). Carcinoma is the most common type of cancer.1
  • Sarcoma: begins in the connective tissue, such as bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, and blood vessels (e.g., rhabdomyosarcoma, liposarcoma, and Ewing sarcoma). These tumors are rare and usually affect children and young adults.2-4
  • Melanomas: cancers that arise in the cells responsible for the pigmentation of the skin. Melanoma is associated with sun exposure. Some people with a family history of melanoma are more at risk for developing the disease.5

How are Solid Tumors Found?

Solid tumors can be found in a variety of ways. Some tumors are found through routine screenings, such as mammograms, self-exams, or colonoscopies. Other tumors are found because a risk assessment test such as 4Kscore® alerts your healthcare provider to look for potential tumors, while still others are found secondarily to certain symptoms such as persistent cough, speech, or other neurological issues.

If your healthcare provider determines that a solid tumor is present, they will biopsy the tumor, providing GenPath a small sample of the tissue. From there, GenPath offers the most advanced testing to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant as well as its cause and most appropriate course of treatment.

Types of Solid Tumors

GenPath offers a variety of diagnostic tests for all types of solid tumors, providing you and your healthcare provider accurate and timely information to ensure the best treatment options available.

Brain Tumor

Tumors can begin in the brain causing problems with speech, balance, or other neurological functions. Learn more about GenPath’s tests that your healthcare provider may order to determine the exact type and cause of a brain tumor.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer in women, although it can occur in men as well. Most tumors are found either through self-breast exams or routine mammograms. Some breast cancers can develop due to hereditary causes, meaning that the cause of the cancer was passed down through your family tree. Learn more about GenPath’s tests to diagnose breast cancer or to determine if you are at risk for hereditary breast cancer.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in both men and women. Lung cancer can be caused by smoking or other environmental issues. Learn more about GenPath’s test menu for lung cancer.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancers are found in the colon or rectum. Many colorectal cancers are found through routine screenings known as colonoscopies, while some colorectal cancers may be due to hereditary causes. Learn more about GenPath’s tests to diagnose colorectal cancer or to determine if you are at risk for hereditary cancer.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Certain diagnostic tests, such as PSA or GenPath’s proprietary 4Kscore®, can provide information to determine if you are at risk or may have prostate cancer. Additionally, prostate cancer can occur due to hereditary causes in families with a history of prostate, breast, or ovarian cancer. Learn more about GenPath Urology’s tests to determine risk, or diagnosis, of prostate cancer, (including 4Kscore® ) or to determine if you are at risk for hereditary cancer.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer was once the most common cause of cancer death for American women, but due to regular Pap smear screening, the mortality rate has dropped considerably. Most cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, a common sexually-transmitted infection. Learn more about cervical cancer and GenPath’s Women’s Health HPV testing.


  1. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Accessed April 11, 2019.
  2. American Cancer Society. Accessed April 16, 2019.
  3. American Cancer Society. Accessed April 16, 2019.
  4. American Cancer Society. Accessed April 16, 2019.
  5. Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed May 15, 2019.