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Tumor Doesn’t Always Mean Cancer, What’s the Difference?

When you hear the term tumor, you may immediately associate it with cancer. However, it turns out that not all tumors can spread like cancer. So, what’s the difference between the two? Check out the full explanation in the following review,

Tumor Doesn't Always Mean Cancer, What's the Difference?

Recognizing the Difference between Tumors and Cancer

A tumor is generally a lump that contains a collection of abnormal cells. Tumors can be divided into three types depending on the cell type, namely:

  • benign tumor (benign tumors). Tumors that do not contain cancer cells.
  • Pre-cancerous tumor. This type of tumor contains abnormal cells that have the potential to become cancerous.
  • Malignant tumor (malignant tumor). Tumors containing cancer cells.

The human body is always producing new cells to replace old cells. Sometimes, during the process of producing new cells, the cell’s DNA can be damaged and the new cells that are formed become abnormal. These cells will continue to multiply faster than the immune system so that tumors form.

Having a tumor doesn’t always mean a person has cancer. Cancer is a condition that refers to a malignant tumor.

Tumors or cancer both have the potential to be dangerous and can cause death, depending on the tissue they attack. In addition, both of them also have recurrent properties (recurrence) even though they have received the right therapy.

Here are some other characteristics that can distinguish the two, including:

1. Cell Growth

The growth of cancer cells is classified as very aggressive and much faster than the development of tumor cells. From the nature of this progression (growth), usually doctors can assess whether a lump has a malignant or benign nature.

Also Read: Using Aspirin to Reduce Cancer Risk, Is it Effective?

2. Spread of Cells

Benign tumor cells do not spread to surrounding tissues, in contrast to cancer cells which can invade surrounding tissues and even tissues that are far from the tumor.

The spread of cancer cells can occur through the blood or spleen system and spread to other organs to form new tumors. This spread is important for assessing the stage of a cancer.

3. Cell shape

Benign tumors generally have an irregular shape and are smooth, whereas malignant tumors may not have an irregular shape. From the shape of this tumor, doctors usually assess whether a tumor is benign or cancerous (malignant tumor).

4. Properties of Cells

Benign tumors and malignant tumors both have a risk of recurrence (residif) even though they have received the right therapy. However, the difference lies in the location. Tumor cells tend to recur in the same tissue, while cancer cells can recur in other tissues.

In addition, tumors can usually move when pressed, but malignant tumors do not move when pressed.

Benign tumors may not require treatment or treatment. In contrast to malignant or cancerous tumors, which must receive treatment because it can endanger life.

Also Read: 8 Types of Viruses That Can Increase the Risk of Getting Cancer

How to Diagnose Tumors and Cancer

If you find a lump on the body, you should immediately consult a doctor.

When the doctor establishes the initial diagnosis that the lump is a tumor, don’t immediately think that the lump is cancer. The doctor will suggest undergoing several further tests to get an accurate diagnosis.

Doctors may use one or more imaging tests to help confirm a diagnosis, such as x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, or MRIs. In addition, some blood tests may also be needed.

However, the only way to confirm the presence of cancer cells in a tumor is a biopsy. This method is done by taking a sample of tumor tissue and then sending it to the laboratory for examination.

The doctor will then receive a report that tells you what type of tumor is in your body.

A tumor is a mass of abnormal cells. Some types of tumors are harmless and can be left alone. However, there are several types that must be treated because they can be life threatening. If you feel a lump on your body, don’t hesitate to immediately consult a doctor.

  1. Anonymous. Cancer. (Accessed 13 February 2023).
  2. Anonymous. 2021. Tumor. (Accessed 13 February 2023).
  3. Pietrangelo, Ann. 2019. Benign and Malignant Tumors: How Do They Differ? (Accessed 13 February 2023).

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