Difference Between Tumor and Neoplasm

Main Difference – Tumor vs Neoplasm

Tumor and Neoplasm are two terms used in Oncology. Many medical professionals  suggest that both these terms refer to the same type of abnormal cellular growth which can either be benign or malignant. Thus these terms are often used interchangeably. However, some experts suggest that there is a difference between tumor and neoplasm; according to them, a tumor is a swelling or lump without any inflammation whereas a neoplasm refers to new growth, lesion or ulcer.

What is a Tumor

Defined as an abnormal growth of body tissues, tumors can be divided into benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on various factors deciding their abnormal cellular growth.

Tumors usually take place as a result of excessive cellular growth and division in the body. In healthy people, the body has control in the mechanisms of cell growth and division which includes the formation of new cells and replacement of older or damaged cells with new ones. If this balance of cell growth and death is disrupted, a tumor will develop and come into action.

Genetic factors, UV rays exposure, radiation, chemicals like Benzene, smoking, tobacco, and viruses are known to be the commonest causes for various tumors developing in the body.

Symptoms of tumors mainly depend on the location and severity. For example lung tumors can result in shortness of breath, chronic cough, bleeding with cough (Hemoptysis) or chest pain whereas tumors in the colon can result in rectal bleeding and altered bowel habits. However, a person having a tumor usually complain of general symptoms such as fatigue, loss of weight and loss of appetite, unexplained fever, night sweats, chills, etc.

Major modalities in the diagnosis of tumor include biopsy, CT or MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) Other tests may include blood tests (full blood count, liver function test), bone marrow biopsy (lymphoma or leukemia) and chest x-ray.

As far as the treatment of tumors are concerned, they are mainly based on the type of tumor, location, severity and health and fitness of the patient. A non-cancerous or benign tumor could be managed by watchful waiting and routine follow-ups although some will have to be removed surgically for cosmetic reasons and symptomatic issues. On the other hand, cancerous or malignant growth will often require chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, targeted cancer therapy and biological therapy.

The prognosis of a patient affected by a tumor depends on the type and its severity. If the tumor is benign, the prognosis will be generally very good, but exceptions can be there as ones in the brain which could give rise to several neurological consequences. In contrast, cancerous growths usually have a poor prognosis, but it all depends on the factors mentioned above along with the stage at diagnosis. In fact, some cancers can be cured without much effort whereas some are fatal and could only be managed symptomatically with the help of palliative care.Difference Between Tumor and Neoplasm

What is a Neoplasm

This is Greek word with the meaning NEO-new PLASM-growth, which basically gives an idea of new growth which is caused by the rapid division of cells which have often undergone some sort of a mutation.

Difference Between Tumor and Neoplasm

Despite the difference between the meanings of each term discussed above, most of the scientists suggest that both neoplasm and tumor refer to the same type of abnormal cellular growth which can either be benign or malignant.

In contrast, some experts in the field suggest that tumor refers to a swelling or lump without any inflammation whereas neoplasm refers to new growth, lesion or ulcer which may or may not be associated with inflammation.

However, it is better to keep both these ideas in mind, since they can be used in different ways in describing the same patient or different patients with similar conditions.

Image Courtesy:

“Diagram showing how cancer cells keep on reproducing to form a tumor CRUK 127″ By Cancer Research UK – Original email from CRUK via

About the Author: Embogama

Embogama is a passionate freelance writer for several years. Her areas of interest include general medicine, clinical medicine, health and fitness, Ayurveda medicine, psychology, counseling and piano music


Related pages


what is the difference between direct object and indirect objecttemporary magnet exampleshow to write an iambic pentameterpolypropylene homopolymer vs copolymerexamples of coordinating and subordinating conjunctionsrefrain in poemwhat is the difference between free verse and blank versedefinition of absolute brightnessorthopnea meansis filtration active or passiveconforming meaning in hindiwrought vs cast ironcomedy of manners characteristicsdifferences between meiosis 1 and 2cinderella story moralflagella and ciliawhat does dawn to dusk meanformula for modulus of rigiditystress and intonation definitionthylakoid membrane diagramliterary technique listrod bacillib12 vs b complexdifference whipping cream and heavy creamcharacteristics of an american bulldogwhat is a radicledifference between external and internal respirationintermolecular forces and intramolecular forcesorofacial dyskinesia definitionentendre definedefine warm bloodedsugarcane and sugar beetshelley famous poemswhats prosedolphins skeletonluminescence fluorescence differencegst refund sydney airportexample of intermolecular hydrogen bondingdifference between glucose and fructosepredicate nominative examplespot fake leviswhat type of map shows elevations and locationswhat are diploblastic animalsdifference between zoospore and zygosporewhat is marxist criticismthe difference between asexual and sexual reproductionwhat is ionizing and nonionizing radiationpun double entendredefine homonymousis baking soda the same as bicarb of sodacalculating discount factorwhat is a pomelo fruitdifference between dominant and recessive allelesdifference between renewable and non renewable energymetallic bonsdifference between micrometer caliper and vernier caliperdifferences between meiosis 1 and meiosis 2define mild steeldifference between meiosis and mitosischemical formula for wood alcoholwhat does step brother meanallyl vinylsolving projectile problemsdying and dieingwhat is the definition of condescendingwhat is marginal and absorption costingaverage accounting rate of returnexample of a double entendreclassification of pteridophytesdefine tardive dyskinesiamitosis and meiosis comparedwhat is freshwater ecosystemprovisional balance sheetparable of the good samaritan messagewhat is the difference between values and virtues