Tumours of the hand are abnormal growth of cells that can either be benign or malignant. These tumours can originate from just about any tissue in the hand, be it the skin, fat, bone, nerves or cartilage.
Most tumours of the hand are benign; however, a small percentage can be cancerous. Amongst these, skin tumours are more likely to be malignant. Tumours of the soft tissues such as lipomas (fat tumours), neurilemmoma (nerve tissue tumours) or vascular tumours are less likely to be malignant. Simple surgical excision will suffice in most cases.
How are Tumors of the Hand Diagnosed?
Although history and physical examination will help come up with a provisional diagnosis, imaging studies are required for confirmation. Commonly done imaging tests are X-ray, USG and MRI scans.
If there is a suspicion of malignancy, then a biopsy will be done.
Tumor of the Nerve Tissue
There is a complex network of nerves in the hand; tumours of the nerve sheath can cause various symptoms usually related to the compression of a normal underlying nerve. This will result in tingling and numbness in the hand; loss of sensation might follow.
Complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice, and this is done under direct microscopy.
Tumor of the Blood Vessels
Vascular tumours in the hand are uncommon but often quite painful. One particular tumour called the glomus tumour forms under the nails and cause severe pain. This tumour also carries a risk of malignancy. A complete surgical excision will usually get rid of the abnormal tissue.
Tumor of the Bone and Cartilage
Enchondromas, osteomas and osteosarcomas are all tumours of the bones that can be potentially life-threatening. Usually, tumours of the bone are painless, but sometimes they can present as an acute episode of pain after minor injury or trauma. It’s important to check in with a doctor immediately to rule out a tumour of the bone.