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What is the Difference Between a Tumor and a Neoplasm?

What is the difference between a tumor and a neoplasm? While all neoplasms can be considered tumors, not all tumors are neoplasms. A tumor is a broader term that refers to any abnormal mass or swelling, whereas a neoplasm specifically refers to an abnormal proliferation of cells, whether benign or malignant.

What is the difference between a tumor and a neoplasm? A neoplasm refers to the abnormal growth of tissue, i.e., a tumor. Neoplasms can be benign or malignant (cancerous). However, not all tumors are neoplasms. For example, a swelling caused by inflammation or a fluid collection (like a cyst) can also be referred to as a tumor.

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, radiation, chemicals, smoking, tobacco, and viruses are common causes for the development of tumors in the body. 

Understanding what a tumor is and how it affects various parts of the body is crucial for both medical professionals and the public.

There are several types of tumors, each classified based on its nature and origin. A common type of tumor is a benign tumor, which is non-cancerous and typically doesn’t spread to other body parts. On the other hand, malignant tumors are cancerous and can invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.

While the immune system works to detect and destroy abnormal cells, some tumors have ways to evade or suppress the immune response. Identifying the exact type of tumor is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment plan.

Diagnosing a tumor involves a series of imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or ultrasounds.

What is a Neoplasm?

A neoplasm definition includes any new and abnormal growth of cells in the body. These growths, also known as tumors, can occur in any part of the body and vary widely in their behavior and impact on health.

Neoplasms are categorized into benign and malignant types. A malignant neoplasm is essentially cancerous, with the potential to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. This contrasts with benign cells, which are typically localized and do not spread.

A malignant neoplasm is not only an abnormal growth but also has the capacity to be life threatening. These neoplasms can disrupt normal bodily functions, invade blood vessel walls, and metastasize to distant organs.

Certain types of neoplasms can be life threatening. Their ability to invade other tissues and organs makes them a significant health concern, necessitating early detection and effective treatment.

In conclusion, a neoplasm is an abnormal cell growth, and understanding its nature, especially in the case of a malignant neoplasm, is vital for effective healthcare. The impact of neoplasms on blood vessels and their potential to be life threatening underscores the importance of ongoing research and advancements in cancer treatment.

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What are Benign and Malignant Tumors and Neoplasms?

A tumor or neoplasm is an abnormal growth of cells. They are generally categorized as either benign or malignant, based on their behavior and impact on the body.

Benign tumors are non-cancerous growths. They typically grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body. While they can cause problems by pressing against nearby tissues or organs, benign tumors are usually considered less serious than malignant tumors and often can be removed with surgery.

Malignant tumors are a more aggressive type of tumor. These are cancerous and have the potential to be life-threatening. Their defining characteristic is the ability to invade surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body (metastasize), making them much more dangerous.

While benign tumors and neoplasms are generally less concerning and do not spread to other parts, malignant tumors require more aggressive treatment due to their potential to invade other tissues and spread throughout the body.


  • Liliana says:

    This was very informative

    • Cancer Treatment Expert says:

      Hi Lilliana,

      We’re happy you found this informative, our goal is to provide useful and informative information to patients and caregivers, we hope our articles help patients navigate and stay informed during their diagnoses.

  • John Kronwitt says:

    Thank you very helpful

  • Sylvia Lopez says:

    Greetings Healthcare friend!

    I have a friend who had been diagnosis with bladder cancer that was treated with chemotherapy. After testing, the bladder cancer was gone. Now she reports that she has a neoplasm on her left kidney and has been experiencing GI problems. Could this neoplasm be from the bladder cancer?

    Thanks for Your reply! I’m just preparing myself!


    • Cancer Treatment Expert says:

      Hi Sylvia, we are very sorry to hear about your friend. This could be a recurrence of the bladder cancer or a new primary cancer on her kidney. To know for sure, your friend can have a biopsy of the tumor on her kidney to determine its primary location. Once the pathology from the biopsy is resulted, we would be happy to review the results with her/you and support your friend through her journey.

  • Patricia Tracy says:

    I have been diagnosed with malignant neoplasm of sigmoid colon. Could you explain that for me? My email is ###. The diagnosis code is C18.7 (ICD-10-CM). Thank You.

    • Cancer Treatment Expert says:

      We are sorry to hear of your diagnosis. A malignant neoplasm of the sigmoid colon is another way of saying colorectal cancer. Malignant means cancerous. There are treatment options and clinical trials available depending on the stage, location, and other factors. We can review your records and see what options you have. Please reach out at or 844-627-7246 and we would be happy to support you through this difficult time.

  • Mary says:

    Does a neoplasm has to be removed surgicaly

    • Cancer Treatment Expert says:

      Whether a neoplasm is removed or not depends on a few factors such as where the neoplasm is located and the stage of the cancer, among other things. We can review your records and see if surgical resection is the best option or if a clinical trial or other treatment might be better at this time. Please reach out at or 844-627-7246 and we would be happy to support you.

  • Jyoti Sharma says:

    Hello I had fibroids.but doctor told me it’s neoplasm benign.could you let me what Is this cancer or not?

    • Cancer Treatment Expert says:

      Hi Jyoti, a benign neoplasm is a non-cancerous growth. So if your doctor has stated that your fibroids are benign, then they are not cancerous. Thank you for reaching out and we are happy that your results came back negative.

  • Vero says:

    I have been diagnosed of oncocytic neoplasm of the right kidney after a renal biopsy and histopathology done
    what does that mean please

    • Cancer Treatment Expert says:

      Hello Vero, without seeing the full pathology report it is difficult to determine exactly what your diagnosis is. At Massive Bio we are happy to abstract your medical records and match you to any clinical trial you may be eligible for. Of course, we encourage you to have these conversations with your oncologist to determine what the best fit is for you.

  • Agnes says:

    Thank you so much. Your definition and the difference between tumor and neoplasm / benign and malignant has been helpful to me.

  • Theresa Bell says:

    Neoplasma tumor (benign). Take pointer finger and and place in the first joint (closes to three tip) of your thumb. That’s the size and it’s located on the very top of the head. Checked one year later and there was growth. Dr said don’t need to do anything. It was discovered because of on growing symptoms of headaches, dizziness, feeling of eyes rolling back, cricket sound in ears and constant changes in vision with partial vision loss in left eye at time, having memory problems and my mood has become irritable with random speech problems. Sometime I say random words in my sentences and something I can’t get words out and have to think a little while. Eye doctor gave clean bill of health, no diabetes. Should I seek a second opinion?

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