Cancer Vs Tumor: Differences Worth Knowing

Cancer and tumors are related conditions. Some may argue they are the same; however, there are some fine differences. Cancer is a disease where there is an uncontrollable cellular growth spreading in the body rapidly. This uncontrollable cellular growth accumulates and forms tumor. Cancer can spread in the body and also from secondary tumors. A tumor develops in the form of a lump or a lesion in the body from the abnormal cellular growth. Tumor occurs in the disease cancer; however, a tumor can be cancerous or benign. Both cancer and tumor have some differences; and to know about the differences between cancer and tumor, do go through the following article.

Cancer Vs Tumor: Differences Worth Knowing

Cancer Vs Tumor. Basic Differences

Cancer. Cancer is a disease where the cells, almost anywhere in your body start rapidly dividing in an uncontrolled manner. When this uncontrolled growth starts occurring in the solid tissues, such as muscle, organ or bone, it forms a tumor, and this may spread to the surrounding tissues via lymphatic system and through blood. The good news is that, cancer and tumor, both may be treatable if diagnosed at an early stage. Cancer is a disease or condition that causes damage to the DNA that stops the cell replication (when there is a requirement). So, cancer results in an uncontrollable growth in the body.

Tumor. On the other hand, tumor occurs when the body’s cells do not grow or divide normally, rather divide and begin growing uncontrollably. A tumor does not necessarily be cancerous. The tumor can either be benign (it is not cancerous) or can be malignant (it is cancerous). Though benign tumor is not cancerous, it must be removed by surgery, as it can cause an excessive production of specific hormones in our body, and this in turn may cause several health issues.

Cancer Vs Tumor. Differences Based On Their Causes

Cancer Cause. There is no specific cause for cancer. Defect in the genetic mutation is thought to cause cancer. Potential causes of cancer or risk factors for cancer are. excess of tobacco use, certain infections, lack of physical activity, radiation and also due to a long-term exposure to specific pollutants and due to obesity. Damaged genes may occur due to these causes and might get combined with some existing genetic defects, leading to cancer. It must be noted that some cases of cancers have hereditary causes. Over 200 cancers can affect humans.

Tumors Cause. On the other hand, tumors usually occur when the body’s cells stop dividing or growing normally, rather divide and begin growing in an uncontrolled fashion. The excess of cells start joining together and begin to form several sizes of growths or lumps. This growth or lumps is known to be a tumor, which can either be a solid mass or may be filled with a type of fluid.

Cancer Vs Tumor. Differences Based On Their Treatment

Cancer Treatment. Cancer treatments generally include surgery where the cancerous tissue is removed surgically. Cancer treatment also consists of chemotherapy where powerful chemicals are used for killing the rapidly growing cancerous cells, and also include the radiation therapy where high energy radiation is used so as to shrink tumors and to kill the cancer cells by damaging the cancerous cells’ DNA. In addition to this, gene therapy is also used to treat cancer, and here the DNA is used as a pharmaceutical agent for treating the disease.

Tumor Treatment. the treatment for cancerous tumor is same as cancer where the tumor is removed surgically followed by chemo and radiation. In case of non-cancerous tumor, the treatment consists of surgery for removing the tumor and a benign tumor usually does not require extensive or long-term treatments like the radiation therapy or chemotherapy.


We are aware of some differences between cancer and tumors. Cancer is the diseases in which tumors are formed. Tumor is the name of the actual mass or lump of accumulated cells occurring in cancer. From our explanations it must be clear that not all tumors are cancerous. And in the same manner, not all the cases of cancer are characterized by the growth of tumor. For instance, in case of blood cancer, no tumor is involved. But anyways, in both the cases, i.e. in case of cancer as well as tumors, it is always essential for you to see your doctor and get yourself properly diagnosed about the condition and also start with your prescribed treatment on an immediate basis.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 8, 2021

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