Cysts (Overview) - Harvard Health
Ganglion cysts — Comprehensive overview covers causes, treatment of lumps Ganglion cysts can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve. If a cyst breaks open, it can cause pain in the back of the knee or down the A biopsy is the removal of a tissue sample for laboratory testing. I have several lumps on my lower arms, one on the base of my back Occasionally they can press on nerves and cause pain or numbness.
Some soft tissue masses that are initially benign can transform into malignancies. This is often heralded by an abrupt increase in the size of a previously quiescent mass.
Research suggests that a malignant mass that emerges in an arm or leg is usually greater than 5 cm 2 inches in size and deep-seated often in muscle. Prognosis Most soft tissue tumors emerge spontaneously. They merit attention because they could be cancerous.
A sprain or hematoma that lasts longer than six weeks merits additional medical scrutiny for the possible presence of a soft tissue tumor. Rarely, people are genetically predisposed to have soft tissue masses e. Lethality Most soft-tissue tumors are benign. Large masses are more cause for worry. Patients who notice a mass more than 5 cm 2 inches at its longest point, or which is painful to the touch, should consult a physician. A soft-tissue sarcoma cancerous growth can be a lethal disease.
For instance, synovial sarcoma is an aggressive cancer that accounts for 7 percent to 10 percent of soft-tissue sarcomas, and usually develops in the arms or legs of young adults. Research shows that as few as 25 percent of those patients with disease that has metastasized, or spread, to other parts of the body survive five years.
Pain The majority of soft tissue masses are painless -- unless they are irritating a nerve nearby — and this is a primary reason why many masses are not diagnosed until they have developed significantly in size. Soft tissue masses may cause skin discoloration if blood flow increases to the region or if veins are distended, but usually skin around the mass retains its normal color.
Debilitation Prompt and accurate diagnosis is important to help avoid debilitating complications. Soft tissue tumors often are not physically debilitating, at least initially, and this contributes to their ability to grow undetected. A sarcoma cancerous growth could result in amputation of an arm or leg or functional loss of a limb.
Ganglion cyst - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
A benign tumor could, in some cases, be debilitating too. For example a soft tissue mass deep in the pelvis could impede the function of an organ, such as the bowel, or interfere with local nerves or blood flow. Comfort In some cases, a soft tissue tumor could cause a patient discomfort, especially if there is local irritation of a nerve or blood vessel.
A tumor on someone's foot could impede his or her ability to wear shoes and walk comfortably. A mass pressing against the stomach could cause discomfort with the patient's digestion, and similarly, a mass next to the rectum could cause constipation. Other sarcomas are more aggressive and more challenging to treat. Sometimes, chemotherapy can interfere with the function of the ovaries or testes. Therefore, any patient planning for a pregnancy should have a thorough discussion with her medical oncologist.
Independence The body has an amazing capacity to recover from many surgeries in which soft tissue masses are removed. In many areas of the body, muscles are redundant and can compensate well for removal of muscle or soft tissue.
In some cases, however, a soft tissue tumor could affect a patient's independence; for example, surgeons might have to remove a nerve to effectively remove a sarcoma cancerous growthrequiring a patient to wear a brace or follow a program of physical therapy to regain full mobility. Sarcomas that result in amputation of a limb could change a patient's independence dramatically.
Thankfully, modern prosthetic devices have been particularly successful for restoration of independence in the amputee population. Mobility Depending on its location, a soft tissue tumor could affect a patient's mobility. For example, a tissue mass on a patient's foot or pressing against a patient's nerve could reduce mobility.
Similarly, surgeons might have to remove a nerve or muscle to effectively remove a sarcoma cancerous growthwhich could compromise mobility. Daily activities A soft tissue tumor could inhibit or change a patient's ability to maintain daily work tasks or activities. A tumor on a patient's finger or hand could impede typing, for instance; a tumor that involves a nerve could cause a patient to reduce his or her activities because of pain or functional deficit. Energy A soft tissue mass in and of itself usually does not cause fatigue or changes in metabolism.
A newly found mass may elicit patient anxiety which may lead to fatigue. Chemotherapy treatment for a sarcoma cancerous growth could cause a patient fatigue, as well.
Diet Soft tissue tumors typically do not require changes in diet. Relationships A sarcoma cancerous growth or benign tissue mass may have implications for social relationships. For example, a tissue mass that affects a patient's sexual function could affect social relationships.
People who are diagnosed with soft tissue tumors are often anxious because of the presence of their mass and need strong social support to help them through the diagnosis and possible treatment. It is important to remember that treatment helps the majority of patients with these tumors, enabling individuals to live full, active lives. Rarely, an amputation is needed to effectively treat a sarcoma cancerous growth. Research suggests that children have an easier time adjusting to an artificial limb than adults.
Communicability Soft tissue tumors are not contagious. Risk Factors Lifestyle risk factors Lifestyle and diet are not thought to play a role in the emergence of soft tissue tumors — benign or cancerous. More likely is that the trauma drew medical attention to the existing tissue mass.
One exception would be a ganglion cyst, a common, benign fluid-filled soft tissue mass that can be caused by injury. A ganglion cyst might develop after a knee injury, for instance.
Such cysts usually move about more freely and are much softer than a sarcoma cancerous growth. Prevention Soft tissue tumors cannot be prevented, per se, but any discovered mass of unknown etiology that is growing should be evaluated by a specialist. Any sprain or hematoma that lasts longer than six weeks merits additional medical scrutiny.
Anatomy According to the National Cancer Institute, about 43 percent of sarcomas cancerous growths occur in the arms and legs; 34 percent occur in and around internal organs; 10 percent occur in the chest and back region; and 13 percent occur in other locations.
Diagnosis Patients presenting with soft tissue masses are evaluated and their clinical history taken. See Figures 3 and 4 below. Figure 3 illustrates the appearance of a soft tissue mass on MRI.
Click the image to enlarge With this information in hand, the physician would biopsy the mass to diagnose its etiology. If a biopsy is needed, the surgeon who does the biopsy should be the person who will remove the mass.
Carcinomas, another common type of malignant tumor, grow from epithelial cells in the colon, liver, or prostate. Tumors can grow so large that they push into organs, causing pain and other symptoms. A surgeon will usually remove large tumors. All cancerous tumors are usually removed unless they are impossible to reach or located so close to a vital organ that surgical removal may cause harm.
Diagnosis A doctor may use an ultrasound to examine a cyst or tumor in more detail. A doctor can use several diagnostic methods to distinguish between a tumor and a cyst.
They will start by taking a medical history, then ask when symptoms began and when they are most prominent.
The timing of symptoms is important. For example, cysts may become more noticeable around menstruation, due to hormonal fluctuations. A doctor will also examine the cyst or tumor, if possible.
They will consider its location, color, how it feels, and whether any material is draining from it. A doctor may use an ultrasound to examine a cyst or tumor located deep within the body. Ultrasound imaging can often show whether a lump is hollow, fluid-filled, or a collection of cells. In some cases, a doctor may request a biopsy, which involves removing the lump or cells from it.
The biopsy will be sent to a laboratory for testing. When to see a doctor While not all cysts and tumors require treatment, a person should have a lump examined if it appears to be growing quickly.