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General Hands Wrists

Hand or Wrist Tumors: Should You Be Worried?

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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.

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Conditions General Hands

Understanding Hand Tumors

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People hear the word tumor and immediately think that this refers to cancer. However, thats not the case. In fact, a tumor is the name for any mass, lump, or bump hat may appear on or in the body. Most tumors are nonmalignant, which means they are not cancerous. On one hand, most tumors grow close to the surface. They may grow on the skin or directly under it. Of course, since you have all types of tissue in your hands, like tendons, muscles, skin, nerves, etc, then there are many different types of tumors that may occur. Instead of going over every type of hand tumor that is possible, lets discuss the most commonly seen.

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are completely benign and they occur near or on a joint, especially on the fingers and the wrist. They are filled with a clear liquid and can grow or shrink from day to day. Sometimes, thy completely disappear all on their own. Usually, they do not cause any problems, but if they become painful or they get in the way of normal use of the hand, then surgical removal is possible. Ganglion cysts are the most common of all hand tumors.

Giant Cell Tumor on Tendon

This is the second most common and it occurs when a solid mass develops on the sheath protecting a tendon in the hand. They can occur anywhere a tendon is present, so anywhere in the hand. They grow very slowly and they are benign. It is unclear what may cause them, but some doctors feel there is a link between tumors and trauma or injury that affects the growth of the tendon sheath.

Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

Epidermal inclusion cysts are also very common and they are benign too, Essentially, they grow on the underside of your skin in the hand. Often, they form where the hand has been cut or otherwise wounded and they are made of keratin. As skin cells get trapped under the skin, keratin grows and continues reproducing.

Other, not so common types of hand tumors, include fibromas, glomus tumors, and bone spurs. In almost every situation, they are benign. If a foreign body, like a splinter gets stuck deep in the hand, then the skin may form a tumor around it as well.

Hand Cancer

As mentioned, most types of tumors are benign, but any lump or bump should be evaluated by a physician. Most of the time, hand cancer comes in the form of squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, or basal cell carcinoma – all of which are skin cancers. It is important to get cancer in the hand diagnosed because it can spread to other parts of the body, especially the bones, breast, and lungs.

If you have a bump or lump on your hand, then be sure to visit a doctor. A diagnosis will be made and if the bump is causing you problems, then it can be removed surgically. This resolves the problems in most cases. Some people choose to leave the tumor alone if it is benign and it is not causing pain or discomfort.


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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.