Hand tumors and wrist tumors can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, it may just look like an ordinary lump or bump. And while it may technically be a tumor, the tumor is not necessarily cancerous. There are many different types of hand tumors, and most are benign, which means non-cancerous. Hand tumors can be something as common as a wart or a mole, which are on top of the skin, or something more uncommon that is beneath the skin. Here are some examples of common hand tumors:
Warts are very common bumps on the skin that are non-cancerous. They appear due to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and can spread easily. While these bumps are mostly harmless, they can be embarrassing, rough to the touch, and sometimes very itchy. Warts can be treated with something as simple as a pumice stone, by freezing it, by applying tape over it and peeling it off, or with a chemical.
2. Ganglion Cysts
Ganglion cysts are some of the most common tumors in the hand that can fluctuate in size and appearance depending on the person. For some, a ganglion cyst may be soft, for others it may be firm. They may appear on your wrist or or at the base of your finger, in which case they may be smaller than the size of a pea. Ganglion cysts may or may not be painful, and the cause of these tumors is unknown. Fortunately, this type of tumor is not cancerous. If the bump is not painful and is not affecting your daily life, your surgeon may recommend to leave it alone. Other treatment options may include aspiration (puncturing with a needle) or surgically removing it.
3. Giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath
This is the second most common tumor that appears in the hands and wrists. Giant cell tumors are usually solid and not filled with liquid. They are not cancerous, and may grow larger (slowly) over time.
4. Epidermal inclusion cyst
This tumor is also non-cancerous. Sometimes, this tumor can appear where there previously was a cut or puncture. It is usually filled with keratin, a soft, waxy material.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition of the hand that is commonly mistaken for a tumor. Dupuytren’s causes firm pits, bumps and cords in the palm of the hand and can make it difficult to completely flatten the hand, but it is not technically a tumor.
If you have a tumor on your hand or wrist, your best option is to visit a hand surgeon to determine the type of tumor and make sure it isn’t cancerous. Your surgeon will help you decide the best treatment option by performing a full examination of your hand/wrist which may include an x-ray or bone scan. Sometimes, the best option is just to leave it alone. Other times, you may need surgery to remove it and find out more about what type of tumor it is. There are also non-surgical treatment options. Talk to your surgeon for more details. You can learn more about hand tumors and other hand conditions and injuries at www.HandCare.org.