Hand Tumors

A hand tumor is any lump or mass in the hand or fingers. The majority of hand tumors are benign, but on rare occasion a hand tumor can turn out to be malignant (cancerous).

If you notice an unusual growth on your hand or fingers, speak with an orthopedic doctor at Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Milwaukee or throughout Southeast Wisconsin. Your doctor will properly assess the tumor and recommend a comprehensive treatment. Depending on the prognosis, you may or may not require a hand tumor removal.

Ganglion Cysts

The most common hand tumor is a hand ganglion cyst. They are seen more frequently as wrist ganglion cysts but can also occur at the base of the fingers or around the finger joints.

A hand ganglion cyst is the “ballooning-out” of the lining of a joint or a tendon sheath. The fluid which lubricates the joint or tendon has a thick, molasses-like consistency; filling the hand ganglion cyst and making it feel very firm. There are several ganglion cyst treatment options, including observation, aspiration (puncturing with a needle) or a surgical ganglion cyst removal.

Giant Cell Hand Tumors

Giant cell hand tumors follow hand ganglion cysts as the most common hand tumor. A giant cell hand tumor is a tumor of the sheath that surrounds a tendon. Unlike the hand ganglion cyst which is filled with fluid, the giant cell hand tumor is solid. These tumors are slow-growing, benign and usually painless. For these reasons, your doctor will monitor the hand tumor’s progress and look for any signs of accelerated growth.

Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

The epidermal inclusion cyst is benign and forms just underneath the skin, originating from the undersurface of the skin where there may have been a cut or puncture. Skin cells normally produce a protective waxy substance called keratin. When skin cells get trapped under the surface, such as with a skin puncture, they continue to grow and make keratin, forming the cyst.

Other Benign Hand Tumors

Hand tumors that are typically benign include:

  • Lipomas – fatty hand tumors
  • Neuromas – hand tumors of the nerves
  • Fibroma – connective tissue hand tumors
  • Glomus tumors – tumors under the fingernails

Cancerous Hand Tumors

Cancerous hand tumors are very rare. Sarcomas, malignant hand tumors of the soft tissue or bone are the most common types of cancerous hand tumors. It is possible for cancer to spread to the hand or wrist from somewhere else in the body, such as the lung or breast. This is called metastatic cancer. A biopsy is usually required to make a definitive diagnosis.