Difference Between Tumors and Polyps

The word Tumor is quite popular in the medical world as well as among people. Tumors are critical medical issues. They develop in younger as well as older people.

There are different types of tumors in medicine. Some types can be cured with medications, some can be removed with surgery but some others can be life-threatening.

Tumors vs Polyps

The main difference between Tumors and Polyps is that the tumor normally lacks a stalk while polyps are pedunculated. Polyps cause bleeding and blood loss. This will eventually lead to the development of anemia. But, Tumors don’t cause bleeding and anemia. Polyps can be nodular or serrated in some cases while tumors are not serrated in shape.

Tumors vs Polyps

The tumor is formed by a mass of cells. Tumors normally look like swelling but it is more severe. Tumors always do not develop cancerously but can become cancerous if left untreated for a long time.

A tumor becomes malignant once it is cancerous. These tumor cells can spread and form lumps in other parts of the body.

Polyps are also caused by abnormal cell proliferation. They look like small bumps. They are attached to the body by a stalk. Since they have a stalk they resemble a mushroom.

Most of the polyps are not life-threatening. But they also can develop into malignant tumors with time.

Comparison Table Between Tumors and Polyps

Parameters of Comparison Tumors Polyps
Location Can occur anywhere in the bodyArise from mucosal epithelial cells
Diagnosis Image tests and biopsy Endoscopy and biopsy
Treatment Radiation therapy and chemotherapy Can be treated with drugs or removed surgically
Risk factors Mutation, exposure to chemicals or radiation, genetics Family history, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive drinking, etc
Success rateCancerous tumors return after removal and are lethalThey can be successfully treated

What are Tumors?

The main reason for tumor production is the rapid and abnormal proliferation of body cells. Cells normally divide at a specific rate when the rate of division increases more cells are formed.

As a result of overproduction, these cells accumulate in different body parts and are known as tumors.

The reason behind this rapid division may be mutation by physical or chemical factors, genetics, or habitual or environmental causes. The size of the tumor determines its severity of it.

Each tumor may vary in size. They can randomly develop anywhere in the body. Tumors can be classified into three types.

Benign tumors are not very critical to treat. They can be permanently removed by surgery. A premalignant tumor has not yet become cancerous but can become one if left without treatment.

Malignant tumors are very critical and they spread to another place. They return even when they are removed surgically.

Some of the most common types of tumors include Fibroid, Hemangioma, Adenoma, Lipoma, Sarcoma, Carcinoma, etc. Imaging tests are done to determine the position of the tumors.

Doctors usually conduct a biopsy to identify the type of tumor. Each type of tumor will be accordingly treated by specialists. Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, Surgery, and Gene therapy are some advanced treatments used to treat tumors.

What are Polyps?

Polyps are stalked lumps that are normally not life-threatening. But, they can become dangerous once they get the characters of cancerous cells like rapid division and proliferation.

Polyps are treatable. They don’t linger after surgical removal. However, treatment depends on the size, type, and location of the polyp.

Genetics and family history are considered the major reasons for polyps. Colon polyps are a very common type of polyp and they occur due to changes in the lining of the colon.

The colon is lined with mucosal epithelial cells. Uterine polyps develop due to abnormal development of the endometrium. Cervical polyps are caused by a hike in estrogen levels, the use of allergic chemicals, or any form of infection.

Polyps also develop in Throat and Nasal cavity. Throat polyps are caused due to smoking, shouting leading to damage of cells, inflammation, etc. Polyps in the gall bladder are also common.

Endoscopy is the major diagnostic method for polyps. A biopsy can help confirm the type. Colonoscopy is done to detect colon polyps. Throat or vocal chord polyps are checked by examining the throat with a mirror.

Most polyps don’t need treatment and they cure without treatment. But, some polyps need to be removed surgically to ensure that it doesn’t develop into a cancer tumor.

Colon polyps are removed during a colonoscopy. Progestin and Gonadotropin-releasing hormones are given to treat hormonal polyps that develop in the cervix and uterus.

Main Differences Between Tumors and Polyps

  1. Tumors are more or less similar in size during certain periods of growth but tumors at different stages differ in size while Each polyp differs in size and shape from the others.
  2. Tumors usually aren’t pedunculate but Polyps are protrusion with a stalk.
  3. Tumors are highly malignant and cancerous. They become life-threatening when not treated. Whereas, Polyps are not always dangerous.
  4. Tumors can develop from any type of cell. They don’t have a specialized origin. While Polyps usually develop from mucosal epithelial or submucosal cells
  5. Tumors do not involve blood vessels. They are an aggregate of dead cells. But Polyps involve blood vessels and sometimes cause bleeding. Bleeding results in loss of blood and anemia.
Difference Between Tumors and Polyps


Tumors and Polyps are perceived as similar conditions but they are not. They are both different. Tumors can be lethal but Polyps rarely are.

However, critical or not it is always better to consult a doctor if you notice tumor or polyp-like structures on your body. These conditions cannot be completely prevented.

Reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco, exercising, eating food rich in fibers like cereals, vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk factors.

Regular health checks will give you a profile of your body condition. Green tea, Grapes, Onions, and some other foods have proven to prevent tumor growth. But, maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is the key to preventing them.


  1. https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1097-0142(19810315)47:6%3C1241::AID-CNCR2820470602%3E3.0.CO;2-Y
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0165460893900703
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