Difference Between Cyst vs. Tumor

Main Difference

The main difference between cyst and tumor is that a cyst is a sac that is filled with a fluid or air etc. while a tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue.

Cyst vs. Tumor

There is a large number of diseases that humans are facing due to multiple causes. Cyst and tumor both are also widespread problems nowadays. A cyst is an outgrowth or pouch-like structure that is filled with air or fluid and can be present anywhere in the body under the skin while a tumor is an abnormal outgrowth of tissues. Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate between a cyst and a tumor, but due to development in medical sciences, there is a number of tests that are helpful in determining the problem. Physical examination may also help in determining the problem because a cyst appears smooth on touching while a tumor appears hard. Cyst is mostly non cancerous while a tumor may be cancerous or not. They vary in their function and causes.

Comparison Chart

CystTumor
A pouch or a sac-like an outgrowth that is filled with fluid, air or any other material is known as a cyst.An outgrowth that is formed by the abnormal growth of the cells of the body that is not needed is known as a tumor.
Presence
A cyst may present in any part of the body even in bones, skin, soft tissues and organs, etc.The tumor can also present anywhere in the body like tissues, bones and organs, etc.
Causes
It may occur due to genetic causes, multiplication of dead cells, chronic inflammatory conditions, infection, ovulation, Injury or irritation in the hair follicle, problems during embryonic developments or degeneration of tissues of the connective joints, etc.It may occur due to abnormal and uncontrolled growth of a cell that is not needed by the body or due to the survival of old and damaged cells etc.
Cancerous or noncancerous
A cyst is mostly noncancerous.A tumor may be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
Physical Examination
A cyst will appear smooth on touching.A tumor will appear solid or hard on touching.
Diagnosis
A cyst can be diagnosed by physical examination, biopsy, diagnostic images like CT scans, MRI, ultrasounds and mammograms or by fine needle aspirations to check the type of fluid present in the cyst.A tumor is diagnosed by physical examination, biopsy, diagnostic images like CT scans, MRI, ultrasounds and mammograms, etc.
Treatment
If the cyst is not painful, there is no need to treat it. But if it is painful, it can be removed surgically.A benign tumor does not require any treatment if it is not causing any problem in the nearby areas while malignant or cancerous tumors should be removed surgically and required various therapies like radiation or chemotherapy and their combination etc.

What is Cyst?

A cyst is defined as a small or large sac of tissue filled by air, fluid or any other material, etc. It can be formed in the people of any age, area or group and any part of the body. A cyst is named according to the area or organ in which it is formed like a pancreatic cyst, kidney cyst, breast cyst, liver cyst, the vaginal cyst, skin cyst and thyroid cyst, etc. There are almost a hundred different type of cysts due to multiple causes. Some of them are Sebaceous cyst, Ganglion, Epidermoid cyst, Chalazia, Ovarian cyst, Pilonidal cyst, Breast cyst, Cystic acne, Baker’s cyst, Nabothian cyst and Dermoid cyst, etc. It may occur due to genetic causes, multiplication of dead cells, chronic inflammatory conditions, infection, ovulation, Injury or irritation in the hair follicle, problems during embryonic developments, etc. Its treatment depends upon the location, size and type of cyst present. It is noncancerous, so there is no need to treat it if it is not painful. But, it is painful then it can be removed surgically by the doctor. Sometimes, doctors drained the fluid present inside the cyst. But, there is a risk of its reappearance.

What is Tumor?

A tumor is an unwanted, uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells. Cells of a tissue divide in an uncontrolled manner to form a mass or swelling known as a tumor. Cancer and tumor are two different things. Neoplasm is a synonym of the tumor but not of cancer. But, some tumor may be cancerous too. According to this, the tumor is divided into two main types, i.e., benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Benign Tumor

A benign tumor is a noncancerous type of tumor because its cells do not spread to the nearby tissues. Its causes may be a long-term infection, stress, exposure to radiations, diet, etc. Like a cyst, it does not require any treatment if it is not causing any problem. But, if it is harmful and causing any problem to blood vessels or nerves etc. then it should be removed by surgery carefully without harming the nearby organs. Fibromas, Adenomas, Lipomas, Meningiomas, Myomas, Nevi (moles), Neuromas, Papillomas, Osteochondromas and Hemangiomas, are few examples of benign tumors.

Malignant Tumor

A malignant tumor is a cancerous tumor and can be life threatening too. It has the potential to spread in the body and has higher chances of reoccurring too. Its diagnosis and treatment depend upon the area of occurrence. It is diagnosed by tumor markers and other imaging techniques. Malignant or cancerous tumors should be removed surgically and required various therapies like radiation or chemotherapy and their combination etc. Germ cell tumor, Sarcoma, Blastoma and Carcinoma are some examples of the malignant tumors.

Key Differences

  1. A pouch or a sac-like an outgrowth that is filled with fluid, air or any other material is known as cyst while an outgrowth that is formed by the abnormal growth of the cells of the body that is not needed is known as a tumor.
  2. Cyst may occur due to genetic causes, multiplication of dead cells, chronic inflammatory conditions, infection, ovulation, Injury or irritation in the hair follicle, problems during embryonic developments or degeneration of tissues of the connective joints etc. whereas tumor may occur due to abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cell that is not needed by the body or due to the survival of old and damaged cells and genetic causes etc.
  3. A cyst is mostly noncancerous while a tumor may be cancerous (malignant tumor) or noncancerous (benign tumor).
  4. On physical examination, a cyst will appear smooth on touching while a tumor will be solid or hard.
  5. A cyst can be diagnosed by physical examination, biopsy, diagnostic images like CT scans, MRI, ultrasounds and mammograms or by fine needle aspirations to check the type of fluid present in the cyst while needle aspiration method is not used in the tumor.
  6. If the cyst is not painful, there is no need to treat it. But if it is painful, it can be removed surgically while in case of tumors, the benign tumor does not require any treatment if it is not causing any problem in the nearby areas while malignant or cancerous tumors should be removed surgically and required various therapies like radiation or chemotherapy and their combination, etc.

Comparison Video

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is concluded that cyst is a pouch like an outgrowth filled with air, fluid or any other material and may form anywhere in the body. It is noncancerous and does not need any treatment if it is not causing a problem. While, the tumor is an unwanted, uncontrolled and abnormal growth of a cell that may also occur anywhere in the body. It may be cancerous, i.e., malignant tumor or noncancerous, i.e., benign and should be treated immediately in case of a malignant tumor.

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