Teratoma

Also known as: benign teratoma, malignant teratoma, germ cell tumor.

What is teratoma?

A teratoma is a fairly common congenital (develops before birth) type of solid tumor that contains normal looking tissues like hair, teeth and bone (and very rarely whole organs like, for example eyes). Teratomas are typically found in the midline or gonads; most commonly in the sacrococcygeal area, the ovary, testicle, brain and other sites (like neck). They are usually benign (non-cancerous and don't spread), and can grow quite rapidly (sometimes they are malignant and can spread).

What causes teratoma?
The cause is unknown, however there are a number of inherited defects that seem to increase the risk for the development of teratomas.

What are the symptoms of teratoma? 
Symptoms depend on the site and size of the tumor. Common symptoms include a swelling, mass or lump that can be felt or seen, constipation or incontinence, leg weakness, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing etc.

What are teratoma care options? 
Treatments may include one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplant and as necessary hormones.  

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: September 09, 2020 11:16 AM

Patient Success Stories

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Sebastian was only 11 years old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, hydrocephalus and a teratoma. His mother Martha says she was shocked to learn her otherwise healthy son began experiencing headaches.

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