Tumors are sometimes cancerous but this does not mean that tumors and cancers are synonyms (as most people think). Though all lumps are not cancerous, a few of them are. So a proper examination of lumps is very important.

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Cancer versus Tumor comparison chart
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Treatment Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Removing a benign tumor is relatively easy through surgery, and the condition does not recur.

Abnormal Cellular Growth

Tumors and cancers are different. A tumor develops when a lesion or lump is formed in your body due to abnormal cellular growth. In the case of cancer, this cellular growth is uncontrollable and it spreads in the body. Both can be detected with an MRI scan.

Not all tumors are cancerous

It is important to understand that not all tumors are cancerous. There are benign tumors where the growth is limited to certain part of the body. A tumor becomes cancer when it is malignant. This means that the primary growth can generate several secondary growths thus invading vital parts of your body and spreading everywhere.

Just as all tumors are not cancerous, all cancer cases are also not characterized by tumor growth. For example, in case of blood cancer, there is no tumor involved. However, on appearance of a tumor, biopsy becomes very important to determine if its growth is malignant or benign.

A tumor may or may not develop into cancer. Cancer on the other hand is a malignant condition in which the spread of abnormal cellular growth could become uncontrollable.

Treatment of Tumors vs. Cancer

Medication and treatment prescribed for tumors and cancer may be different.

Not all tumors are life-threatening. Even if a tumor is benign, doctors may recommend surgically removing it. Depending upon the location and size of the tumor, this surgery can be comparatively easy or it may take the patient months to heal.

Treatment options for cancer include surgery (surgically removing cancerous tissue), chemotherapy (using powerful chemicals to kill rapidly growing cancer cells), and radiation therapy (using high energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA). Gene therapy is also being explored, which involves using DNA as a pharmaceutical agent to treat disease.

In the video below, Dr. Greg Foltz of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, talks about the different kinds of treatment for benign vs. malignant (cancerous) brain tumors.

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