Tumor vs Cyst: Difference and Comparison

Naked human eyes are incapable of distinguishing between any lump or bump that may appear on our bodies. The cause and effect of those lumps can’t be predicted without further investigation.

Although we may consider all lumps to be cancerous, this is not always the case. Certain lumps are either inactive or harmless to growth.

They could be a cyst or a tumor. We’re here to draw the line that separates the two similar lumps.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tumors are abnormal growths of cells that can be benign or malignant, while cysts are fluid-filled sacs with a membrane.
  2. Cysts don’t pose a significant health risk and may resolve independently, whereas tumors may require medical intervention.
  3. Diagnostic imaging techniques, such as ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans, help differentiate between tumors and cysts.

Tumor vs Cyst

A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells which can be cancerous. Cancerous tumors can spread to other parts of the body, while non-cancerous tumors are benign. A cyst, is a sac-like pocket of tissue that contains fluid, air, or other substances. It can develop in many different parts of the body.


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Tumor vs Cyst

A tumor is a swollen solid mass composed of tissues. A tumor is caused by unnatural cell growth; when cells grow at a faster rate than normal, the body finds it difficult to eliminate them through its normal mechanisms.

The cells bunch up together to form a lump. It could happen anywhere in the body. It can take any form or size.

A cyst is a swollen mass on the body that resembles a pouch. A cyst can contain fluid, tissues, air, or any other substance. It is a semisolid mass, as opposed to a tumor.

It may be painful at times. It occurs when any fluids or tissues become clogged, resulting in abnormal cell growth.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonTumor Cyst 
Growth Fast-growing Not fast-growing 
Firmness Solid semi-solid
Composition Only tissues Air, fluid, tissues
Types Adenomas, fibroids, lipomas, and malignant tumors.Breast, epidermoid, hepatic, and pilar cysts.
Color It does not have the colors that a cyst does.Swollen red (yellow, white, or green discharge)

What is Tumor?

A tumor is a swollen mass of tissues. Tumors are caused by abnormal cell growth; when cells grow at a faster rate than normal, the body finds it difficult to eliminate them using its normal mechanisms.

The cells congregate to form a lump. It is possible that it will occur anywhere in the body. It can take on any shape or size.

A tumor is firm and cannot sway beneath the skin. A tumor grows quickly by nature. A tumor is innocuous until it affects the tissues around it.

A tumor is useless in and of itself; however, it can be dangerous if it is located in vital areas where it may tend to block certain tissues or nerves. In these cases, symptoms may vary.

A tumor can be malignant or cancerous, or it can be benign or non-cancerous, with the latter remaining concentrated in a single area, unlike the former. There are various types of tumors, which are as follows:

  • Adenomas (glandular epithelial tissue)
  • Fibroids (fibrous tissue)
  • Lipoma (fat cell tumors)
  • Tumors that are malignant (anywhere in the body, also bone marrow)

A tumor can be diagnosed using ultrasonography, which is located deep within the body; otherwise, doctors conduct extensive examinations to analyze the tumor properly.

In some cases, the doctor may request that the patient undergo a biopsy.


What is Cyst?

A cyst is a pouch-shaped swollen mass on the body. A cyst can contain fluid, tissues, air, or anything else. In contrast to a tumor, it is a semisolid mass.

It can be excruciating at times. It happens when any fluids or tissues become clogged, causing abnormal cell growth.

A cyst, unlike a tumor, does not grow rapidly. A cyst is not firm and can be felt moving beneath the skin. Because there is a hormonal imbalance during the menstruation cycle, cysts are often more visible.

A blackhead must be present in the center of a cyst. Furthermore, it can become red and swollen, with yellow, white, or green discharges.

Cysts can be caused by a number of factors, including underlying medical conditions. It can, however, form on the body’s surface as a result of multiple cell growths.

Also, hair follicle irritation, a clogged duct, and ovulation. The following are the various types of cysts:

  • Cysts in the breast
  • Cyst of the kidney
  • Cyst of the ovaries
  • Pilar cyst

If a cyst is liquid rather than hard, it is benign; otherwise, harder cysts can be either malignant or benign. It can be analyzed further by looking into it further.

A few of the techniques that the doctor may employ are ultrasounds and CT scans. In addition, if a cyst is clogged with liquid, a doctor may use a needle. The most visible method is to have a biopsy.


Main Differences Between Tumor and Cyst

  1.  A tumor is solid in contrast to a cyst.
  2. A tumor grows quickly, whereas a cyst does not.
  3. A tumor does not have a black head in the center, whereas a cyst may have one.
  4. A tumor does not produce a colorful discharge as a cyst does. A cyst has discharges that are yellow, white, or green.
  5. A tumor is made up entirely of tissues, whereas a cyst is made up of tissues, fluids, air, or any other substance.
  6. When a tumor is felt, it does not move under the skin, whereas a cyst can be felt moving under the skin.
Difference Between Tumor and Cyst
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090301900001622
  2. https://www.auajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1016/S0022-5347%2817%2968619-1
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