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What is the Difference Between a Tumor and a Neoplasm?

What is the Difference Between a Tumor and a Neoplasm?

The difference between a tumor and a neoplasm is that a tumor refers to swelling or a lump like swollen state that would normally be associated with inflammation, whereas a neoplasm refers to any new growth, lesion, or ulcer that is abnormal. Conversely, tumors and neoplasms both refer to abnormal cell growth, whether they be malignant or benign.

What is a Tumor?

A tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue that can be categorized as either benign or malignant. They develop because of excessive cell growth or division in the body. Genetic factors, exposure to UV rays, radiation, chemicals, smoking, tobacco, and viruses are common causes for the development of tumors in the body.

Benign tumors:

  • Adenomas
  • Fibroids
  • Hemangiomas
  • Lipomas

Malignant tumors:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Sarcoma tumors
  • Melanoma tumors
  • Blastomas

What is a Neoplasm?

A neoplasm is abnormal growth tissue that is caused by a rapid growth of cells that have undergone some type of mutation. Neoplasms can also be benign or malignant.

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What are Benign and Malignant Tumors and Neoplasms?

Both tumor and neoplasms can be benign or malignant, which means non-cancerous or cancerous. Benign tumors and neoplasms are not cancer, while malignant tumors and neoplasms are cancer. Benign tumors do not spread throughout the body and grow slowly. Malignant tumors can grow quickly and spread throughout the body, making early detection important. One of the first tests doctors will do when a tumor or neoplasm is detected, is determine if it is benign or malignant, in order to help determine the next treatment step and understand why the tumor or neoplasm is forming. If you suspect a change in your body or find a new growth or lump, contact your doctor for testing to ensure you receive treatment if needed.


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