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Doctor insights on: How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Malignant And A Benign Tumor

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How can you tell the difference between a malignant and a benign tumor?

How can you tell the difference between a malignant and a benign tumor?

Biopsy: A biopsy is the only way to tell if a tumor is malignant. A pathologist will examine the cells under the microscope and decide. ...Read more

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Neoplasms (Definition)

"tumor" literally translates as "mass", so even a fresh bruise could be called a "tumor". Doctors use the term "neoplasm" (tranlates literally as new growth) to describe tumors that are abnormal growths of cells. These may be benign or malignant; "malignant" = cancer. In everyday usage, we use "tumor" ...Read more


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How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor?

How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor?

H&P important: A lot depends on the location of the tumor, the age of the patient and other factors like how it feels. This is what is called the history and physical and it's why your doctor asks a lot of nosy questions. The h&p will give us answers in 80% of cases but the rest will require testing, like special scans or biopsies. Even then, there are a few cases which are hard to know for sure! ...Read more

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How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor when you look at it?

How can you tell the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor when you look at it?

Yes: Malignant cells don't look like normal cells, and these differences can be seen when the biopsy is examined by the pathologist under the microscope. ...Read more

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How do you tell the difference between a cyst and a cancerous tumor under the skin?

How do you tell the difference between a cyst and a cancerous tumor under the skin?

Possible bx: A cyst under the skin when palpated gives the suggestion that there might be fluid present. Placing a fine 22 gauge needle into it can define if fluid is present. Most lesions under the skin rarely are cysts but rather lipomas, fibromas , neuromas and the intial growth of desmoid like lesions. Here a biopsy or excision can resolve the problem. ...Read more

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How can I tell between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor?

How can I tell between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor?

H&P important: A lot depends on the location of the tumor, the age of the patient and other factors like how it feels. This is what is called the history and physical and it's why your doctor asks a lot of nosy questions. The h&p will give us answers in 80% of cases but the rest will require testing, like special scans or biopsies. Even then, there are a few cases which are hard to know for sure! ...Read more

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How can one tell the difference between a lipoma and a sarcoma?

How can one tell the difference between a lipoma and a sarcoma?

A Biopsy: A sample of the tissue will be sent to the Pathologist by your Surgeon. The Pathologist will examine the tissue microscopically to determine the tumor type. ...Read more

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Can the doctor tell the difference between a breast cyst and a tumor? How?

Can the doctor tell the difference between a breast cyst and a tumor? How?

Ultrasound or Needle: It is very easy to distinguish being a cyst, which is fluid-filled, and a tumor, which is almost-always solid, by performing an ultrasound. Alternatively, a needle aspiration can be done. This sounds worse then it is--it hurts about as much as having your blood drawn. Bottom line: if you find a lump in your breast, see your primary care doctor or gynecologist. ...Read more

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How do they tell the difference between a malignant and benign ovarian lesion on an ultrasound?

How do they tell the difference between a malignant and benign ovarian lesion on an ultrasound?

Not always clear cut: Purely simple, smooth ovarian cysts are considered benign. Cysts with debris, septations or nodules along their walls can be concerning. Sometimes we do follow up ultrasound to see if they grow. If there is enough concern, MRI helps. Correlation with patient age, family history, blood tests and possibly biopsy also help us be sure. ...Read more

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How do you tell the difference between a pineal tumor and a pineal cyst?

How do you tell the difference between a pineal tumor and a pineal cyst?

A biopsy or imaging: True pineal gland cysts are not brain tumors; rather, they are a completely benign cysts. The large majority of pineal gland cysts do not enlarge much if at all. However, some do enlarge over time slowly. Even though pineal cysts are benign and usually harmless, they can mimic a tumor, they often need to be distinguished from other cystic tumors via biopsies or imaging study (ie MRI of the brain). ...Read more

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How can radiologist tell the difference from a malignant and benign ovarian cyst on ultrasound. And is the sympthoms the same.

How can radiologist  tell the difference from a malignant  and benign ovarian cyst on ultrasound. And is the sympthoms the same.

Imaging findings: Radiologist can simply raise suspicion of malignancy based on imaging findings.These may include internal separation , solid component and presence of fluid in the pelvis. This may alarm the gynecologist to further investigate the cyst. Final diagnosis is often based on surgical and histopathological evaluation. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor in terms of how it looks or feels?

You can't: A tissue biopsy is the best way. The pathologist will look at it and based on its characteristic can differentiate between both. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor?

What is the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign tumor?

Spreading: A benign tumor will get larger but stay in one place. A malignant tumor grows but also spreads to other places in the body to form more growths called "metastases". These are microscopic at first but then get bigger and spread further. Some types of cancers spread very early in their existence and others grow in one place for a while before spreading. Doctors know where spreading is likely to go. ...Read more

Dr. Liawaty Ho Dr. Ho
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How can I tell the difference between nasal polyps and a tumor?

Dr. Liawaty Ho Dr. Ho
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How can I tell the difference between nasal polyps and a tumor?

Case and biopsy: From listening to patient, examining and visualizing the mass directly plus minus imaging study- you can have some impression whether it is a benign or cancerous one. However, ultimately, a biopsy is the one that can tell you definitively whether it is a cancer or a benign tumor/polyps etc. ...Read more

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How can you tell the difference between a knot and a tumor on the back?

How can you tell the difference between a knot and a tumor on the back?

Both same: Both terms are inconclusive and refer to a palpable lesion not ulcerating but present in back region. The most common small knot or tumor is lipoma which is benign. If multiple and unchanging then watching for growth is acceptable. If firm and showing signs of enlarging then bx indicated since non specific lesions histologically can only be determined by microscopic exam for dx and margins. ...Read more

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How can you test the difference between an ovarian cyst and tumor?

How can you test the difference between an ovarian cyst and tumor?

Imaging & Biopsy: There are several ways in which a physician may determine the difference between a benign ovarian cyst and a tumor (neoplasm). Blood tests for some tumor markers may be helpful. In addiiton, ultrasound studies of the ovary may be helpful. Following these tests over time may be especially helpful. If needed, a tissue or cell biopsy may be necessary to exactly classify the process. ...Read more

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How to tell the difference between a psuedotumor cerebri and a brain tumor?

How to tell the difference between a psuedotumor cerebri and a brain tumor?

Cl exam & tests: Brain tumors will cause increase in the intracranial pressure, could easily detected by ct or MRI , some times with no reason intracranial pressure increases, will have all the signs and symptoms of space occupying brain tumor but there is no tumor , ct MRI will be negative is call pseudo (means false)tumor cerebri. ...Read more

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How can you distinguish between a benign and malignant breast mass?

How can you distinguish between a benign and malignant breast mass?

Clinical: evaluation and imaging studies(mammogram, ultrasound, MRI) help assess whether a mass needs biopsy for definitive diagnosis. Sometimes certain imaging features are specific for a benign cause(for example hamartoma, calcified fibroadenoma, or oil cyst). Other times, imaging features can estimate the probability of malignancy and help indicate what follow-up is needed. ...Read more

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Dr. Katharine Cox
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Benign Tumor (Definition)

A tumor by any other name is a growth. It can be either benign or malignant, differentiated based upon the potential to spread (a malignant tumor is, by definition, a cancer). The best way to determine this is by a tissue biopsy, but we can make better predictions based on the organ of origin, physical ...Read more


Malignant (Definition)

The term “malignant” is mainly used in the context of cancer, but can also be used to describe a condition that can be acutely damaging to the body, ...Read more