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Tumors and cysts are two distinct entities.
Cysts that appear uniform after examination by ultrasound or a computerized tomography (CT) scan are almost always benign and should simply be observed.
If the cyst has solid components, it may be benign or malignant and should have further evaluation. Often this is done with repeat imaging to see if the cyst grows over time.
The best test to determine whether a cyst or tumor is benign or malignant is a biopsy. This procedure involves removing a sample of the affected tissue — or, in some cases, the entire suspicious area — and studying it under a microscope.
Karthik Giridhar, M.D.
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