Nutrition Myths
Difference between cancer and tumor


What is the difference between cancer and tumor?

What is Cancer?

Cancer encompasses more than 100 diseases. All of these diseases have one thing in common: an abnormal and uncontrollable cell growth that can lead to serious illness and eventually death.

The cancer starts with DNA damage in some cells. This DNA damage can occur due to various factors, some of which are well known and recently confirmed by the WHO (for example, the chemicals in processed meats).

Since DNA contains instructions on how the cell should live and die, when the newly damaged DNA takes over, it changes those instructions.

It may decide, for instance, that it is not a time to die but rather to multiply, passing on the damaged DNA. (1)

Cancers can spread by releasing its cells to the blood stream or lymph vessels and then traveling to other parts of the body where it can multiply.

Cancers maintain the name of its origins – for instance, colon cancer that spread to the lungs is still a metastatic colon cancer and not a lung cancer.

Most cancers form tumors (lumps). However, there are cancers that are not tumors.

For example, leukemia doesn’t usually form a lump, but instead circulates and grows in the blood and blood-forming organs.

What is a Tumor?

A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue (lump) that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. They are divided into two groups: benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). It is also called neoplasm.

Benign tumors, unlike cancers, don’t invade other tissues, don’t metastasize and are rarely life-threatening. They can, however, cause other problems.

If the tumor cells start expanding uncontrollably, it can then form a lump that is large enough to press on the surrounding tissues or organs. (2)

Not all tumors are cancers.

Related Posts

Too many Brazil nuts can cause selenium poisoning Brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium. Eating more than 4 nuts daily can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. On a regular basis may lead to selenosis.
Is alkaline diet cancer – protective? Alkaline diet may contribute to a risk reduction of developing cancer, purely because it promotes eating whole vegetables and fruit and restricts processed foods and added sugars, but not because of the alkaline environ...
Being picky with food may indicate “avoidance-restrictive eating disorder”. Being picky with food may indicate an eating disorder called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). This disorder was named in 2013 and allows a more appropriate diagnosis of both children and adults.
List of diseases – mortality statistics List of diseases and related deaths in developed countries and 20 most deadly diseases worldwide in 2012.
Oil pulling – effective remedy for oral hygiene? It is popularly believed that oil pulling prevents tooth decay, promotes oral hygiene, reduces bad oral odor, dryness of throat and bleeding gums, whitens teeth, prevents lips from cracking and strengthens teeth, gums an...

Get updates

Receive regular updates on nutrition myths, facts and curiosities. All based on the latest scientific evidence.