If you have a lump, bump or tumor on your hand, there are many causes – the vast majority of which are non-cancerous (benign). Although it is extremely rare, there is however a type of cancerous tumor called “soft tissue sarcoma” that can affect the hand.
According to the American Cancer Society soft tissue sarcomas only account for about 2% of all cancers in the U.S. These tumors can affect both men and women, and in some case children – but they are very rare.
What is Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Hand
A soft tissue sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumor growing in muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, fat, blood vessels, or lymph vessels. The most common areas to find soft tissue sarcoma are the arms and legs, the back of the abdomen, and the head or neck. However, because the hand contains many muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. soft tissue sarcomas can sometimes – though rarely – be located on the hand.
Symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Hand
Oftentimes, soft tissue sarcomas of the hand don’t show symptoms in the beginning, other than slow-growing, painless mass or “lump” on the hand. Eventually these tumors can become very large, and cause pain, numbness, burning or tingling in the hands (paresthesia).
Causes Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Hand
As with most types of cancer, the exact cause of soft tissue sarcoma is not always fully understood. While researchers believe the cause of soft tissue sarcoma may include genetic and environmental factors, in many cases this type of cancer is thought to occur randomly, for no specific reason.
Some possible environmental factors that have been associated with soft tissue sarcomas include radiation therapy (usually for a different cancer elsewhere on the body), and exposure to certain chemicals including vinyl chloride, arsenic, and thorium dioxide. A potential risk factor for soft tissue sarcoma is prior damage to the lymphatic system due to long-term lymphedema (swelling of the lymph vessels due to accumulation of fluid).
Diagnosis Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Hand
Since there are many causes of lumps or bumps on the hand – most of which are NOT cancer – a biopsy is the only way to tell for sure if a mass or tumor on the hand is a sarcoma.
Dr. Rehman is an experienced hand surgeon who can examine your hand. In many cases she will be able to rule out a sarcoma during her exam. If Dr. Rehman feels there is a possibility of soft tissue sarcoma, she can perform a biopsy while you are at Macomb Hand Surgery in Shelby Township. This simple test involves examining a piece of tissue is taken from the tumor under a microscope.
Treatment Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Hand
In the unlikely event that your mass or lump is a soft tissue sarcoma, there are three very good treatments available: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Surgery involves removing the healthy the entire tumor and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue to get rid of all cancerous cells.
Soft Tissue Sarcomas – Hand Doctor, Shelby Twp
If you have a lump or tumor on your hand it is very likely that it is NOT cancer. However, and bump or mass on the hand should be checked-out by an experienced and qualified hand surgeon like Dr. Rehman at Macomb Hand Surgery in Shelby Township. When treated early masses on the hand can almost always be remedied more quickly, with less invasive techniques and a great prognosis for full recovery.
But the longer you ignore any lump or other condition of the hand the worse it will become – and the risk of permanent impairment of the hand is greater.