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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.


  • 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.

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