The term benign tumor, malignant tumor or cancer is certainly familiar to your ears. Many think that the tumor is cancer, or vice versa. In fact, not all tumors are cancer. This fallacy arises because most people do not know what the difference is between a tumor and cancer. So, what is the difference between cancer and tumors? Come on, learn more about the differences below.
Why do many think tumors and cancer are the same?
Before recognizing the difference between tumors and cancer, it is necessary to know the reason why many think cancer and tumors are the same condition.
By definition, a tumor known medically as a neoplasm is the growth of tissue due to abnormal cells. Meanwhile, cancer is a disease that occurs when certain cells in the body become abnormal, cells are able to divide without control and spread to surrounding tissues. There is a reason why many people think cancer and tumors are the same. Tumors and cancer have similarities, which cause lumps of various sizes and shapes.
Tumors that are basically growing tissue can cause lumps. Likewise, cancerous lumps are formed due to cells that are too actively dividing, causing accumulation. In addition, it can come back if treatment is not carried out completely until the abnormal cells are completely removed from the body. Although they have similarities, tumors and cancer are not the same.
what is the difference between tumor and cancer?
The difference between tumors and cancer that needs to be emphasized is that cancer can cause tumors, but tumors that appear do not necessarily lead to cancer.
Please note that tumors can be benign and malignant. Reported on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, benign tumors are non-cancerous tumors (benign tumors) that are usually not life-threatening. This type of tumor does not spread to other tissues and only stays in one part of the body. In most cases, benign tumors are found in bone (osteochondroma) or connective tissue (fibrous dysplasia).
While a malignant tumor (malignant tumor) is a type of tumor that is formed from cancer cells. This malignant tumor is what you can call cancer. These malignant tumors can spread quickly and damage surrounding tissues, even to any part of the body (metastasize).
Therefore, some people can have more than one cancer in different areas, for example starting from breast cancer which then forms cancer in the lungs. This condition is also known as secondary cancer. The cause of malignant tumors can spread to this area is not known with certainty. However, health experts argue that this has to do with genetic factors, lifestyle, and the possible spread of cancer cells through the lymphatic system.
The difference between tumor and cancer can also be seen from the location of the recurrence of the disease. Benign tumors can recur and appear in the same area. Meanwhile, cancer can recur in any part of the body.
Both tumor and cancer, need medical treatment
Cancer or malignant tumors are said to be the second most common disease that can cause death. Even so, you should not underestimate a benign tumor that grows. The reason is, some benign tumors can also be life-threatening if they are in certain body parts, such as brain tumors that can destroy brain structures slowly.
Yale Medicine website, also mentions that benign tumors can change to cancer or also known as precancerous tumors (premalignant). This is because the abnormality in the DNA in cells is increasing, allowing the cell’s command system to divide to become problematic.
That is why, someone who shows the characteristics of tumor growth needs to undergo examination and treatment as well as cancer. Before prescribed treatment, the doctor will likely examine your physical condition, personal and family medical history, and ask you to undergo a biopsy. Through this test, the doctor can find out whether the lump you have is cancerous or a benign tumor.
The difference between tumors and cancer is the treatment that must be followed. Tumors are usually removed by surgical procedures or ablation (removing the tumor with cold or hot energy). If the tumor is in an inaccessible location, your doctor may recommend embolization, which stops blood flow to the tumor so that the tumor slowly shrinks and dies.
While cancer treatment will be much more complex. In addition to surgical removal of malignant tumors or embolization, patients may also undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, or hormone therapy.