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The chest is a muscular, bony cage that contains and protects your heart, lungs, esophagus, and liver. It includes the rib cage, sternum, and thoracic vertebrae, along with connective tissue and muscles. Tumors can grow in the chest wall—both non-cancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) in nature.
Non-cancerous chest wall tumors are fairly common. They require treatment only when they cause problems, such as pain or difficulty breathing. Types of benign chest wall tumors include osteochondroma, chondroma, and fibrous dysplasia.
Malignant chest wall tumors are much rarer and require treatment. These tumors usually start in the soft tissue, cartilage, or bone of the chest. They may have originated in the chest wall (primary tumors) or they may have originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the chest wall (secondary tumors).
Different types of chest wall tumors cause different symptoms. Some, such as soft-tissue tumors, often don’t cause symptoms until they are in an advanced stage. When symptoms occur, they may include:
At Norton Thoracic Institute, your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to determine if you have a chest wall tumor:
The diagnostic tests listed above will reveal the size, location, and type of tumor that you have. This information will help your doctor determine the best type of treatment for your chest wall tumor. Many benign tumors require no treatment at all, while some may need to be removed if they cause problems such as interfering with the function of an organ in the chest.
For patients with malignant tumors, a combination of the following treatments may be recommended:
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