(See also Overview of Lung Tumors.)
Tumors of the chest wall may develop in the chest wall (called a primary tumor) or spread (metastasize) to the chest wall from a cancer located elsewhere in the body. Almost half of chest wall tumors are non-cancerous (benign).
The most common noncancerous chest wall tumors are osteochondroma, chondroma, and fibrous dysplasia.
A wide range of cancerous (malignant) chest wall tumors exist. Over half are cancers that have spread to the chest wall from distant organs or by direct spread from nearby structures, such as a breast or a lung. The most common cancerous tumors arising from the chest wall are sarcomas.
Chondrosarcomas are the most common primary chest wall sarcoma and arise from cartilage of the anterior tract of ribs and less commonly of the sternum, scapula, or clavicle. Bone tumors include osteosarcoma and small-cell malignant tumors (such as Ewing sarcoma or Askin tumor).
The most common soft-tissue primary cancerous tumors are fibrosarcomas (desmoids and neurofibrosarcomas) and malignant fibrous histiocytomas. Other primary tumors include chondroblastomas, osteoblastomas, melanomas, lymphomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, lymphangiosarcomas, multiple myeloma, and plasmacytomas.
Sometimes a chest wall tumor is detected when chest imaging is done for some other reason.
People with chest wall tumors require imaging tests, such as chest x-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and sometimes positron emission tomography (PET)–CT to determine the original site and extent of the tumor and whether it has developed in the chest wall tumor or is a metastasis from a tumor elsewhere in the body. A biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Most chest wall tumors are removed surgically. If needed, the chest wall is then reconstructed, sometimes with tissues from elsewhere in the body.
The following are English language resources that provide information and support for patients and their caregivers. THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.
American Cancer Society: General information on all types of cancer, including prevention, testing, treatments and information for people living with cancer and their caregivers
American Cancer Society: Lung Cancer: More specific information from ACS on lung cancer, including types, screening and treatments
American Lung Association: General information on all types of lung diseases, including lung cancer and quitting smoking
CancerCare: General information about all types of cancer, including resources for counseling and support groups
CancerCare: Lung Cancer: More specific information from Cancer Care for people with lung cancer, including support services and links to additional resources
National Cancer Institute: U. S. government resource on cancer, including research updates and information on clinical trials
National Cancer Institute: Lung Cancer: More specific information from the NCI on lung cancer, especially advances in treatment and the latest research findings
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship: Advocates for high quality care for all people with cancer