(See also Overview of Lung Tumors Overview of Lung Tumors Lung tumors can be Noncancerous Cancerous All lung tumors require medical evaluation because even noncancerous tumors can cause problems if they grow and block breathing. The treatment of lung... read more .)
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 noncancerous (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.
Symptoms of Chest Wall Tumors
A lump in the chest wall may be the only symptom if a tumor occurs in the soft tissue of the chest wall. Some people have fever.
People usually do not have pain until the tumor is advanced.
Tumors that form in the bone or cartilage are often painful.
Diagnosis of Chest Wall Tumors
Sometimes a chest wall tumor is detected when chest imaging is done for some other reason.
People with chest wall tumors require imaging tests Chest Imaging Chest imaging studies include X-rays Computed tomography (CT) CT angiography Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) read more , 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.
Treatment of Chest Wall Tumors
Sometimes combination chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery
Most chest wall tumors are removed surgically. If needed, the chest wall is then reconstructed, sometimes with tissues from elsewhere in the body.
In other cases, chemotherapy Chemotherapy for lung cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. About 85% of cases are related to cigarette smoking. One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character... read more and radiation therapy Radiation therapy for lung cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. About 85% of cases are related to cigarette smoking. One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character... read more , either alone or in combination, are used for treatment.
Prognosis for Chest Wall Tumors
Prognosis varies by cancer type, cell differentiation, and stage. However, because these tumors are rare, there is not much information on the usual course of the disease. As with most cancers, survival is better with early-stage disease.
The following English language resources provide information and support for patients and their caregivers. THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.
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