For as much effort as we put into taking care of the inside of our bodies, we spend even more time taking care of the outside of it. After all, the skin is the number one thing people see on us. We try our hardest to keep skin smooth, free of wrinkles and acne and young-looking. However, sometimes our skin develops some lumps and bumps on it.
More often than not, these lumps and bump are harmless, but sometimes they are something that needs to be professionally looked at. When this is the case, Dr. Arora is standing by to help.
These are harmless, but annoying, lumps of skin that generally appear on the hands and wrists. The most common places for ganglion cysts are the top of the wrist, the palm, the base of the finger and the top of the joint of the finger. They appear as raised balloons under the skin and are filled with fluid.
There isn’t much use for treatment other than observation because these cysts tend to come and go as they please. However, if the cyst becomes painful, or is in a location that limits everyday activities, there are treatment options. Splints and padding can be used to shield the cyst from being poked and jabbed, as well as options to drain the fluid within the cyst.
Gout and Pseudogout
Gout and pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, or CPPD) are painful conditions affecting the joints of the toes, fingers and wrists. Gout tends to affect the smaller joints such as the fingers and toes, whereas pseudogout focuses on the bigger joints like knees and wrists.
Both of these conditions are confused with infections at first because the symptoms are so closely related. An inflamed, swollen and painful joint will prevent someone from enjoying the things they love most. If a person is suffering from either of these conditions it can make walking or using their hands next to impossible.
There is no cure for gout of pseudogout, but the symptoms can be controlled with medication. Over the counter pain medication is used to mitigate the pain and sometimes a steroid is used to help with the inflammation. If either of these problems become chronic, prescription medication is available to help control the symptoms.
The word “tumor” is considered a scary term because people automatically associate it with a cancer diagnosis. However, the fact of the matter is, any skin bump is called a tumor, and most are completely harmless. Some of the most common tumors of the hand are
- Ganglion cysts: These fluid-filled sacs appear randomly throughout the hand and are usually harmless and painless.
- Giant Cell Tumor of Tendon Sheath: Unlike the fluid filled cyst listed above, these tumors are made of solid mass and have little flexibility to the touch.
- Epidermal Inclusion Cyst: If one of the lower layers of the skin is punctured, it goes into the same healing process as the main layer of skin. Keratin is produced as a cover for the skin and continues being produced even after the skin has healed. This keratin builds up and turns into a harmless tumor on the finger.
These tumors may be unsightly and annoying when they occur, but they are almost always harmless and cancer free.
Cancer of the hand and wrist is uncommon, but possible. When cancer does occur, it’s usually one of the three types of skin cancer: Squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Since they are both cancer, both forms are dangerous to have, however one is worse than the other.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC takes the form of brown or tan spots on the skin that can seem crusty and may ooze fluid or bleed. This cancer is especially dangerous because people mistakenly think the cancer is simply a cut that doesn’t seem to heal and it’s left untreated for a long time.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): These are small nodules on the skin that are hard to the touch and have a pearly finish to them. They are slow to develop and have less of a chance to metastasize. These, too, often look like sores that just won’t heal
- Melanoma: Often looking like a mole or a birthmark, melanoma starts off small, but continues to grow and change shape as it matures. Melanoma has the highest chance to metastasize into cancer.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and is also one of the most dangerous. The good news, however, is that it’s also one of the most treatable forms if it’s caught early enough.
There are a variety of ways you can prevent skin cancer.
- Stay out of the sun for long periods of time
- Use a high SPF UVA/UVB sunscreen whenever possible
- Avoid smoking
- Do not use tanning beds
If you have a suspicious mole, or a sore that doesn’t seem to heal, don’t take any chances. Call the Arora Hand Surgery office today for a consultation/evaluation.