Cancer vs. Tumor
There are differences between cancer and tumors, but one of the similarities, which is great news to someone with cancer or a tumor, is that both may be treatable and does not automatically mean death.
Tumors occur when the cells in the body do not divide and grown normally, but instead they divide and begin to grow uncontrollably. The excess cells begin to join together and form various sizes of lumps or growths. The lumps or growth is the identified as a tumor, which can be a solid mass or they may be filled with a fluid.
However, the tumor that has grown does not necessarily lead to cancer. A tumor can be benign, which means it is not cancerous. However, it can also be pre-malignant meaning it is pre-cancerous, or it is malignant, signifying that it is cancerous. Medical experts are unsure as to why some tumors do not become cancerous and others do.
A benign tumor is most often harmless unless it is pressing against vital organs or blood vessels, which may lead to some health problems. A tumor can also cause an overproduction of certain hormones in the body, which may also cause health issues. Because of these possible health effects, a benign tumor should be removed, which is done usually by surgery.
On the other hand, cancer is a degenerative condition or disease where there is also uncontrollable growth in the body, but the greatest difference: The growth may spread throughout the body. The cancer cells that do spread throughout the body are harmful, and the problem may not remain in just one part of the body. A malignant tumor may also spread.
Cancer is a disease causing damage to the DNA that normally stops cell replication when it needs to be stopped. However, the cancer leads to an out-of-control cell growth. If a tumor is left untreated, though, it can also result in the conditions that may lead to cancer. As stated earlier, a malignant tumor is cancer with those cells not remaining together, but instead they spread through the body producing more malignant tumors.
The increased risk of cancer may also be caused by tobacco use, certain infections, radiation, lack of physical activity, long-term exposure to certain pollutants or chemicals, and obesity. Damaged genes may be a result of these causes, and may be combined with existing genetic defects leading to the cancer. Some cancers are also known to be hereditary. There are over 200 cancers that can affect humans.
In summary, one can say that a tumor can be a single lump of cells that grow uncontrollably, and a cancer can be cells that won't stop growing, but may spread throughout the body causing it harm. In addition, malignant tumors are cancerous and may spread through the body producing more malignant tumors. All tumors are not cancerous and all cancers are not characterized by tumor growth.
Finally, tumors can usually be easily removed through surgery, and the condition most often will not recur. Cancer on the other hand often requires extensive and long-term treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of treatments, and may recur.
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