Mass,cyst,tumor - what's the difference????
by Shari4444, Apr 26, 2008
Hi Ladies,

I'm hoping one of you guys can set me straight. What is the difference between a mass, cyst, and tumor. When I was going through my "stuff" I had doctors call it all three different things. Is there a difference? Do they not know until they open you up? Any information, on this, most confusing subject (for me) would be appreciated. Thanks, in advance.

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Member Comments (8)
by marie3B, Apr 26, 2008
Good question.  I'll give it a try:

mass-- a unified body of matter with no specific shape

cyst-- a closed pocket or pouch of tissue that can be filled with air, fluid, pus (a gross    word to me),or tissue

tumor-- an abnormal growth of body tissue

Any of the 3 can be benign or malignant.

Hope this helps a little. I have forgotten more than I have ever learned these days..Love, Marie
by Sandymac, Apr 26, 2008
You know, I've also wondered that and thanks Marie 3B .. that does help.. But my gyn/surgeon used cyst and tumor interchangeably which sort of worried me.. She thought originally it was a small solid "tumor" on the ovary which scared me to death. She then said the (I never knew this) that you can have a fibroid on the ovary .. think it's called a fibroma.. anyway, then she'd say "cyst".. Well, after they took it out, turned out it was a "simple cyst".. It really was tiny and I don't know how they even saw it.. but those TVUS are something ! Anyway, it confused me as well .. Marie, that did clear it up !

by marie3B, Apr 26, 2008
Yea, they do use them interchangeably. I used to work on the oncology floor of OSF. While I was there I learned to fear the "--oma" at the end of a word. I showed my doc a red mole thing on my boob. She said it was a capillary angioma. I was scared, until she explained it only meant a red mole. I almost passed out at the "oma" Marie
by Jan214, Apr 26, 2008
I don't remember where I found this but I thought it was a good analogy.

I think of a cyst as being much like a blister (a sack of air or fluid) and a tumor as being much like a wart (abnormal tissue mass).

This is from Mayo Clinic

A cyst is an air- or fluid-filled sac. It can form in any part of the body, including in bones, organs and soft tissues. The vast majority of cysts are noncancerous (benign). But it is important to note that nearly all cancers can produce cysts.

The term "tumor" refers to a swelling in the body. To many, the term is synonymous with cancer. But any type of swelling — even a large bruise (hematoma) — is technically a tumor. Tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous.

I think a mass is just a lump of something so I guess a mass is my exhusband.

MARIE: Pus is a gross word, because Pus is gross!!!! Yucky!!!!

by Jan214, Apr 26, 2008
I must have been writing while you all were posting or I would have addressed this.  I hate making two posts.

I am glad a TVUS found that small of a cyst and that it turned out well for you.

Drs say it isn't effective (they mean cost effective for ins cos) as a screening tool for OvCa and to that I say BS.  (No I don't mean Black Spot on roses)  It is such a simple and non invasive tool, that it is almost criminal not to offer it as a yearly test the same as a mammogram.  Those against it say most women get cysts that come and go, but they usually don't even know it and to give them this test which would show "monthly" cysts  would scare women unnecessarily.   OMG  I would rather have had to worry every year about a cyst that would most likely have gone away than to have been told I had cancer.  This is something that we need to continue to push for.
by Morrowville, Apr 26, 2008
Thanks for your comments, Jan, Sandy and Marie... no wonder it's a bit confusing.

I'm glad we have you girls to lean on!  

God Bless!
by Sandymac, Apr 26, 2008
Believe me, if there was any way to push for an annual TVUS, I'd jump right on that bandwagon.. . I too think it should be as available as a mammogram , or yearly dental cleaning (which by the way is up to 140.00 now in S. Florida ) !!!
Wonder how we could get that promoted -- the TVUS not the dental...

Best to all
by Heavenly_Items, Apr 27, 2008
Very good info.  Thank you.