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What are Hand Tumors?

Any abnormal lump or bump on the hand is considered a hand tumor. Hand tumors can occur on the skin as a mole or a wart, underneath the skin soft tissue or on the bone. Most hand tumors are benign (non-cancerous); however, they can also rarely be malignant (cancerous).

The major types of hand tumors include:

  • Ganglion cyst: Most common tumor, filled with liquid and very firm to touch
  • Giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath: Second most common tumor and is solid
  • Epidermal inclusion cyst: Filled with a soft, waxy material called keratin

There are other less common types of hand tumors such as lipomas (fatty tumors), neuromas (nerve tumors), fibromas, sarcomas, osteomas, and glomus tumor among others. All these are benign in nature.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hand Tumors?

Most hand tumors present as visible lumps or bumps on the hand. However, the symptoms associated with these tumors may vary depending on factors such as tumor location, size, and type. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected area that worsens with movement
  • Hard or soft swelling that appears suddenly or gradually
  • Loss of joint flexibility besides numbness or tingling in the hand

What If Hand Tumors are Left Untreated?

If left untreated, hand tumors may lead to complications such as:

  • Constrained mobility of the affected hand
  • Difficulty in closing the affected hand
  • Damage to fingers and vital nerves

How are Hand Tumors Diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination. A needle or incisional biopsy may be performed, where a small sample of your tumor is excised and sent to the laboratory for further testing. Your doctor may also order other tests such as an X-ray, ultrasonography, CT scan or MRI depending on your condition.

How are Hand Tumors Treated?

Nonsurgical treatment of hand tumors comprises anti-inflammatory medication or use of a splint. Surgical treatment involves complete removal of the abnormal tissue located on the hand. The surgery may be performed on an outpatient basis and may require just local anesthesia.

In some cases, your doctor may employ aspiration (puncturing with a needle) method to reduce the tumor. A cortisone injection can also be used at the growth site to prevent recurrence. Malignant tumors may require wide local excision (surgery to cut out the cancer along with some healthy tissue around it) or amputation.