Are Those Bumps on My Hand Cancerous Tumors? Relax – Those Lumps may be Ganglion Cysts

Are Those Bumps on My Hand Cancerous Tumors? Relax – Those Lumps may be Ganglion Cysts

Having an unexplained lump appear can be frightening. If you are like most people, you automatically worry about cancer when mysterious bump appears. Many people who develop ganglion cysts on their hands worry that they have a malignant tumor or some other life-threatening disease. Fortunately, ganglion cysts are usually harmless. Our hand doctor can determine whether the lump on your hand is a ganglion cyst or something more serious.

People used to refer to ganglion cysts as “bible bumps,” according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeon’s website A Nation in Motion, because doctors use to tell patients to smash the lump with a bible or other heavy book. This terrible advice probably did not work very well and likely resulted in broken wrists.

Fortunately, doctors can now offer better treatment advice to reduce the appearance and occasional discomfort of ganglion cysts.

About Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can quickly appear, disappear, and change sizes. They typically develop near joints, most commonly on the wrist.

The fluid inside these cysts usually comes from a nearby joint. The fluid, known as synovial fluid, lubricates joints so that the surface of bones glide across one another smoothly when you move.

Smaller cysts often feel like bumps while larger cysts can feel like balloons or bubbles beneath the skin. Most ganglion cysts do not require treatment, but some develop near nerves or other locations near joints, resulting in pain or joint stiffness.

Medical researchers are not yet sure why these cysts develop in some people and not in others. The cysts most commonly develop in females between the ages of 20 and 30, and in people who have injured their wrist or hand. Overuse may lead to the development of these cysts, as can osteoarthritis.

Our hand doctor can help diagnose and treat ganglion cysts that cause pain or dysfunction. Our hand surgeon will examine the lump, review your health history, and ask questions about your symptoms. An x-ray may help our hand doctor look for other problems affecting the joints of your hand and wrist.

Treatment may include observation for changes in non-painful cysts, or immobilization and anti-inflammatory medications for painful cysts. Our hand doctor may recommend removing some of the fluid with a needle to relieve pressure, if your ganglion cyst causes pain or dysfunction.

Our hand doctor can also assure you that a lump associated with ganglion cysts is not cancerous, and will not spread to other parts of your body. That is always good news.