Chest Wall, Chest Wall Tumor

Chest Wall Tumor: Symptoms and Treatment

The chest wall is a structure in a human body that surrounds and protects the lungs enclosed by the spine and separated through the diaphragm. The chest wall structure includes many tissues in the cartilage, muscle, lymphatic vessels, bone, fascia, vasculature, skin, and fat.

A chest wall tumor is formed when the solid mass of the tissues group together with abnormal cells in the chest wall. These tumors are life-threatening and require proper treatment.

Chest Wall Tumor Categories

Chest wall tumors are of two kinds; benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Chondromas and osteochondromas are the most common benign tumors, and sarcomas are the malignant chest wall tumors.

Chest wall tumors are further divided into primary and secondary chest wall tumors.

  • Primary chest wall tumors primarily appear in fat, nerve sheath, muscle, blood vessel, cartilage, and the bones of the chest wall. These tumors are most commonly found in children.
  • The Secondary chest wall tumors can be formed by a direct invasion of breast carcinoma or metastases from a distant site of origin. Almost all secondary tumors are malignant and commonly found in adults.

These tumors tend to lump on the chest wall surface, invading the bones and muscles.

Chest Wall Tumor Symptoms

The symptoms of chest wall tumors are listed below;

Benign Chest Wall Tumors Malignant Chest Wall Tumor
● Swelling

● A localized mass

Chest pain

● Muscle atrophy (break down)

● Protrusion as with a lump

● Swelling

● A localized mass

● Soreness or pain in the chest

● Protrusion as with a lump


 While lifestyle choices, heredity factors, and diet may also have an essential role in developing these tumors but there is no apparent cause behind it.

Chest Wall Tumor Diagnosis

Proper testing and diagnosis are the first steps in treating this disease. It is challenging to recognize the chest wall tumor initially, though good imaging and management can help in the diagnosis and treatment even in the initial stages.

  • The imaging method is helpful in the diagnosis of chest wall tumors. The physician will recommend an X-ray to diagnose whether the chest is normal or not. In case of any abnormality found in the patient’s X-ray report, the physician will further ask for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and CT (computed tomography) scans to identify the tumor’s location or size.
  • After completing the imaging process, a biopsy of the abnormality is further done to diagnose the kind of tumor present in the patient’s chest. This biopsy is also helpful to know whether the tumor is cancerous (benign or malignant) and the need for further surgical treatments. One of the most beneficial methods for diagnosis is aspiration biopsy, in which a needle is inserted into the tumors to examine the extent of the disease. For some reason, if the needle does not reach the tumor, the patient needs to undergo an open biopsy in which a small incision is made that might leave a scar behind it.

Treatment of Chest Wall Timor

  • In the case of a benign tumor, a surgical procedure is required to remove the tumor. If the tumor interferes with the proper organ functioning, it hinders movement and causes muscles to atrophy.
  • While in the case of a malignant tumor, treatment may include chemotherapy (medication used to kill the tumor), radiation therapy (high energy rays to remove or shrink the tumor), surgical removal and reconstruction (replace or rebuilding abnormal cells), or the combination of all these methods. Chest wall tumors commonly can only be treated by surgical removal and reconstruction methods. However, radiation therapy and chemotherapy can be the sole treatment options in the case of multiple myeloma or isolated plasmacytoma.

Before scheduling the treatment procedure, the doctor will discuss the treatment methods with the patient, how much the chest wall will be removed, and its risks and benefits.


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