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The following table shows the difference between benign tumor and malignant tumor

Benign Tumor

Malignant Tumor

Benign Tumor remain in one place as a single well-defined mass of cells; stay together; usually surrounded by a connective tissue capsule;

cell structure and function is slightly abnormal

Frequency of cell division in malignant tumor is rapid and completely out of control; cell structure and function is very abnormal; cells of malignant tumor travel to distant sites (metastasize)

Doesn't invade adjacent tissue because of the capsule

Cells break away to invade surrounding tissues or enter the blood and lymph

Cells of a benign tumor resemble normal cells

Cells don’t resemble normal cells

Generally poses no threat to life until they compress vital organs

Malignant tumors become invasive cancer

Restricts the normal tissue’s blood supply, affects control centers for heartbeat and respiration

Tumor can spread throughout the body as it travels in body or lymph vessels

Most tumors can be removed by surgery because they are so well contained

Malignant tumor (cancer) shows metastasis and can be categorized according to the types of tissues affected. The treatment depends on the type and stage of the tumor after diagnosis. While some cancers can be cured some of them are incurable. Deadly cancers can still be treated so that patients can live for several years with the cancer.


Moles on the skin are a form of benign tumor; certain moles develop into melanoma (a form of skin cancer); fibroid cysts that can occur in a woman’s breasts or uterus


Carcinoma is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin or in the tissues that line the inner or outer surfaces of the body; Sarcoma a malignant tumor that grows in bone or muscle tissue; malignant tumors in breast tissue can cause breast cancer; cancer in situ is a malignant tumor found


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edited by

In the general term tumor refers to cancer [irregular cell division]. There are two types of tumor: 

Benign tumor: It never spreads to any other parts of the body. It sticks to the one surface.

Malignant tumor: It spread through out the body. Ex breast cancer

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Benign Tumour

Malignant Tumour


Differentiated mass of cells

Undifferentiated mass of cells


Rate of growth is slow

Rate of growth is fast


Remains confined to site of origin

Enters the adjacent tissues


It remains intact

It breaks off, and migrate to the other parts with blood or lymph to invade new tissues and forms secondary tumours.


It is noncancerous

It is cancerous


It is not fatal

It is fatal


e.g. Lipoma

e.g. Leukemia


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