Difference Between Benign and Malignant (With Table)

Many changes in the environment can also cause some major effects on the body of a human. It can evidently be seen from ancient history that humans have changed a lot these days, this could be due to any reason. These reasons have also affected the cells inside the body of the individual. Sometimes, there is an abnormal growth of cells which leads to the development of tumors in the body. Earlier these tumors used to be rare among humans but nowadays they are seen very commonly.

Benign and Malignant are an example of tumors. Both of them are resulting from outgrown or are abnormal cells growth. But both of them have many differences among them as well.

Benign vs Malignant

The difference between Benign and Malignant is that both of them do not invade tissues around them. Benign is not responsible for invading the tissues around them whereas Malignant is responsible for invading the tissues around them, it is also said to be the main difference among these tumors. Tumors can also spread to a different part of the body, benign is not among those tumors i.e. they do not spread to any other parts of the body whereas Malignant can spread to different parts of the body through two ways, bloodstream or lymphatic tissue. A benign tumor is non-cancerous, treated with surgery, and there is minimum chance of reoccurrence while malignant tumors are cancerous, treated with difficult therapies, and are chance of reoccurrence. Other differences between them are mentioned below.

Benign is a type of tumor that is not cancerous and can be treated with surgery. DNA and cytoplasm in this tumor are normal. It does not spread to different body parts through any means but is responsible for the secretion of substances in the body that can cause some symptoms including panic attacks. It is considered a less serious and dangerous type of tumor.

Malignant is a type of tumor occurring due to abnormal DNA and chromosomes, which makes the nucleus darker and larger than normal. It is responsible for the destruction of tissues of the body. It is among one of the most dangerous tumors as it is cancerous, which also means it can spread to many parts of the body and has a chance to reoccur.

Comparison Table Between Benign and Malignant

Parameters of ComparisonBenign Malignant
Growth RateSlow growthFast growth
Cellular AppearanceMost of them are normalSome cells are abnormal
CancerousnessNot cancerousAre cancerous
Local invasionDo not invade tissuesInvade tissues
RemovabilityEasy to removeDifficult to remove

What is Benign?

Following are the causes of Benign Tumor:

  • Any environmental toxins entering the body.
  • Genetics reason, if there was anyone in the family that has suffered from the same tumor.
  • Any diet-related reason
  • Excessive stress
  • Local Trauma
  • Infection or inflammation.

Common types of Benign Tumors:

  1. Adenomas: it can remove with help of surgery but tends to turn into a malignant tumor. It starts in the epithelial tissues of gland-like structure. 
  2. Fibromas: they are tumors of connective tissue. They can grow in any organ of the body. They are common in the uterus; they are not uterus but can have some serious consequences. 
  3. Hemangiomas: they are birthmarks that can commonly be found in the head, neck, or truck. Although most of them can go away with time, in some cases when they interfere with vision, eating, or hearing it requires immediate treatment. 
  4. Lipomas: are the most common type of tumor found in adults. They are soft to touch and grow slowly. They can also move in the body. They are caused due to genetic reasons. Although they are not harmful, if grown rapidly and are painful, they might require treatment. 
  5. Meningiomas: they also grow slowly, and their treatment depends upon their types and symptoms. It is observed for quite a period before surgery is done, although it might also depend on age and certain other factors. 

There are other types of benign as well. 

What is Malignant?

Malignant is the type of tumor that can invade surrounding tissues. This results in making the cells around this cancerous and it also gets migrate to different parts of the body rapidly. It is difficult or sometimes next to impossible to treat these types of tumors with surgeries. Therefore, different types of surgeries are used for the treatment, but these therapies also do not guarantee recovery, and there is a high chance of these tumors reoccurring in the patient. 

A few common types of Malignant Tumors are:

  1. Carcinoma is a type of tumor that is dangerous to the body and starts in the skin.
  2. Sarcoma Tumor: it starts in the connective tissues of the body.
  3. Leukemia: it starts in the blood-forming tissues.
  4. Lymphoma: this takes place in the immune system.
  5. Central Nervous System Cancer: it takes place in the spinal cord.

In some cases initially, the tumor is benign but due to some circumstances and non-treatment, it might get turned into malignant tumors, therefore in case of any minor symptoms medical help should be taken immediately.

Main Differences Between Benign and Malignant

  1. When compared in terms of their growth rate benign is a type of tumor that takes more time to grow meaning it has slow growth whereas Malignant is a type of tumor that might not take much time to spread meaning it has fast growth in the body.
  2. Many tumors are cancerous which means they can lead to some type of cancer in the body. Malignant is a more dangerous tumor as it can be cancerous in many cases, whereas benign is a tumor that cannot be cancerous in any case and hence comparatively less dangerous.
  3. Tumors can be removed from the body through operations or surgeries, benign as mentioned above are less dangerous, hence can be removed easily from the body and there is almost no chance of reoccurrence whereas Malignant is being cancerous is relatively more difficult to remove from the body and there is a high chance of reoccurrence.
  4. These tumors can also be differentiated based on their cell appearance, in the case of benign almost all cells are normal along with a normal nucleus whereas the malignant is a tumor in which some of the cells can be abnormal, it has normal DNA and chromosomes, resulting in the larger and darker nucleus.
  5. To treat benign only surgery is required, whereas for the treatment of malignant is quite difficult and time-consuming, it requires chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
  6. Both of them are responsible for the secretion of different substances, benign is responsible for the secretion of benign pheochromocytomas which can cause symptoms such as high blood pressure, headache, sweating, and sometimes panic attacks whereas Malignant is responsible for the secretion of substances such as Proteolytic enzymes, which can cause fatigue and weight loss symptoms.


There should not be any confusion between Benign and Malignant tumors. Despite their differences, they are similar, as they are two forms of tumors, they are the result of lumps formed due to abnormal growth of cells, cells in them trigger systemic effect by secreting substances, and to identify the type of tumors, biopsy tests are done on the patient. For the proper treatment for the tumor, it is very important to identify the type of tumor otherwise, treatment cannot be started.

To treat tumors it is important to start the treatment in the initial stages as later on, it might not be possible to cure it completely or it might reoccur.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1848846/
  2. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiology.196.1.7784555
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1353206/
  4. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiology.213.3.r99dc20889
  5. https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1097-0142(196209/10)15:5%3C1019::AID-CNCR2820150519%3E3.0.CO%3B2-5
2D vs 3D