If you have a sudden growth or lump on your hand or wrist, the sight can be unsettling. Your mind may immediately go to a dark place, where you worry about serious conditions like cancer. It’s important to know, however, that hand or wrist tumors are usually not as bad as they look.
What You Need to Know About Hand or Wrist Tumors
A tumor can be defined as swelling on a part of the body due to the abnormal growth of tissue.
The word “tumor” is not synonymous with cancer. In fact, the vast majority of hand or wrist tumors are non-cancerous and painless.
Types of tumors that can develop on the hands and wrists include:
- Giant Cell Tumor of the Tendon Sheath: This usually benign tumor most often occurs in patients older than 30. It grows slowly and is painless, and most often is found on the fingers.
- Lipomas: Lipomas are the most common type of tumor, but they do not appear on the hands or wrists as frequently as on other areas of the body, such as the back or thigh. The benign fatty tissue growth usually affects adults ages 50 or older. They are soft to the touch and grow slowly.
- Nerve Sheath Tumors: The nerve sheath is tissue that insulates the peripheral nerves, and a nerve sheath tumor grows within the cells of this covering. It can cause symptoms of shooting sharp pain in the affected area.
- Neuromas: The growths are found along nerves and are caused by a traumatic event, such as a cut to the nerve. They are often very painful.
Other common types of tumors and other growths, such as cysts, that appear on the hands or wrists include ganglion cysts and epidermal inclusion cysts.
Treatment for Hand or Wrist Tumors
Occasionally an ultrasound will be performed or an MRI ordered to help distinguish the mass. If it is believed to be non-cancerous and is not troublesome, no action is necessary. Most people, however, do not want to live with the growth, so they elect to have them surgically removed.
Patients who are experiencing pain associated with these masses may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications or given splints.
Individuals who are concerned about hand or wrist tumors should make an appointment with our hand surgeon, Dr. Arora. A proper examination can give you peace of mind if the growth is harmless, or help protect you if it isn’t.