Difference Between Ovarian Cyst and Ovarian Cancer (With Table)

Cysts and cancer tumors may appear the same from the outside, but they are completely different conditions, with drastic outcomes. A cyst is a sac that may be filled with air or fluid, whereas a tumor is a mass of tissue or swelling caused by abnormal cell growth, which leads to cancer.

Ovarian Cyst vs Ovarian Cancer

The main difference between Ovarian Cyst and Ovarian Cancer is that Ovarian Cysts are sacs of flesh that may be filled with fluid or air and they appear mostly during the menstrual cycle. Ovarian Cancer on the other hand is an abnormal growth of tissue, accompanied by swelling that is caused due to excessive cell growth, which leads to cancer.

 Ovarian Cysts mostly appear during menstrual cycles and in most cases, they dissolve on their own. Most ovarian cysts are formed during menstrual cycles. There are two types of ovarian cysts, follicle cysts, and corpus luteum cysts. Both types of cysts usually disappear on their own after one to two months of formation.

Ovarian Cancer is the abnormal growth of tissue, usually accompanied by swelling. This is caused due to excessive growth of cells. This abnormal growth of cells leads to cancer and the lumps of tissue formed are known as cancer tumors. They are typically hard to identify during physical examination. Hence detection of early-stage cancer is difficult.

Comparison Table Between Ovarian Cyst and Ovarian Cancer

Parameters of ComparisonOvarian CystOvarian Cancer
DefinitionOvarian cysts are sacs of flesh that may be filled with air or fluidOvarian Cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue accompanied by swelling
Caused due toThey mostly appear during the menstrual cycleThey are caused due to abnormal cell growth, leading to cancer
SymptomsSharp abdominal pain, sudden fever, unusual growth of facial and body hairMenstrual irregularities, abdominal swelling, frequent and urgent urination
TreatmentOvarian Cysts generally disappear within one to two months of formationChemotherapy, radiation, surgery are some of the ways of treating cancer
RarityVery common. More than 10 million cases per yearOvarian cancer is comparatively rare. There are less than 1 million cases per year

What is Ovarian Cyst?

Ovarian Cyst is the formation of sacs of flesh filled with either air or fluids. They are very common with more than 10 million cases per year. They mostly appear during menstrual cycles.

Ovarian cysts are not harmful and don’t cause any damage to the body. In most cases, the cyst is dissolved by the body within one to two months of appearing.

Thus in the majority of cases treatment for ovarian cysts is not required. There are two types of ovarian cysts, Follicle cysts, and Corpus Luteum cysts. Follicle Cysts are formed when eggs fail to break out of the sac.

On the other hand, Corpus Luteum cysts are developed when a sac closes up after releasing the egg. Thus the cyst in this case is filled with fluids.

Ovarian Cysts that form during menstrual cycles are called functional cysts. These types of cysts do not produce any noticeable symptoms and disappear as quickly as they are formed.

Some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cysts are abdominal bloating, build-up of pressure in the abdominal area, unusual growth of facial hair as well as on other parts of the body, sudden fever, and sharp abdominal pain.

Ovarian cysts disappear on their own after formation, but if the cyst persists, surgical removal is done to remove the cyst.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian Cancer is the abnormal growth of tissue accompanied by swelling that begins in the ovaries. The tissue growth is a result of abnormal cell growth which leads to cancer.

It is a rare complication with less than 1 million cases per year. Nonetheless, it is a serious deformation and may even lead to death.

The tissue growth is known as a tumor. Tumors are hard to examine during physical examination. Hence ovarian cancer is typically difficult to detect during early stages.

This is one of the reasons for the severity of the condition. As diagnosis can only be done after the early stages in most cases, by then cancer has already spread to more places, increasing the complexity of the condition.

Some of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer are menstrual irregularities, abdominal pain, and swelling, frequent and urgent urination, etc.

Ovarian cancer is not dissolved by the body on its own and requires medical attention for treatment. Some of the methods of treating cancer are chemotherapy, radiation treatment, surgery, etc.

Ovarian cancer often shows no symptoms during the early stages, which makes it much harder to determine. Symptoms associated with the later stages are also not specific, which complicates the problem further.

Main Differences Between Ovarian Cyst and Ovarian Cancer

  1. Ovarian cyst is the formation of sacs of flesh that may be filled with air or fluid. Ovarian cancer is the formation of abnormal tissue growth in the ovaries, due to presence of cancer causing cells.
  2. Ovarian Cysts mostly appear during menstrual cycle. Ovarian cancer is caused due to abnormal cell growth.
  3. Symptoms of ovarian cyst are sharp abdominal pain, sudden pain, unusual growth of facial and bodily hair. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are not specific. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, swelling, menstrual irregularities etc.
  4. Ovarian cysts are generally dissolved by the body. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery are some of the method of treating ovarian cancer.
  5. Ovarian cysts are very common, with more than 10 million cases per year. Ovarian cancer is rare, with less than 1 million cases per year.

Conclusion

Both ovarian cyst and ovarian cancer occur in the ovaries and thus are difficult to examine. But the results of both the complications are drastically different.

Ovarian cysts are mostly formed during menstrual cycles. They are sacs of flesh filled with either fluids or air. They don’t cause much harm to the body and in most cases get dissolved on their own.

Ovarian cancer on the other hand is the formation of tumors in the ovaries due to the presence of cancer-producing cells. This is a very serious complication and can result in death if not treated properly.

This is a rare disorder with less than 1 million cases per year. Chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and surgery are some of the ways of treating cancer.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S152169340900042X
  2. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-0528.1989.tb03377.x
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673613621467
  4. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.pathol.4.110807.092246
x
2D vs 3D