The term malignant is often used to refer
to the tendency of a medical condition, especially tumours (e.g. a cholangiocarcinoma),
to become progressively worse over time, such as may result in eventual
There are two more specific uses of the term malignant:
- As may be applied to various disorders:
The term malignant may be used to describe and refer
to any medical disorder that becomes life-threatening if left untreated,
e.g. malignant hyper-tension.
- As used to describe certain tumours:
A malignant tumour is one that invades and
destroys the tissue in which it originates (e.g. tissues of
the bile duct(s) in the case of a cholangiocarcinoma),
and which can spread to other tissues in different parts of the body
via the blood
systems. If left untreated malignant tumours may leading
to progressively deteriorating health, leading to death.
The word "cancer" is also used to refer to the presence of
Compare and Contrast: The opposite of malignant
That is, a tumour that is not cancerous is benign.