Benign and Malignant Bone Tumors
Benign and malignant bone tumors can occur in patients of all ages. Typically, the biologic behavior of the tumor will dictate the treatment. Treatment options include observation, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and other more targeted therapies. For example, a benign bone tumor that is asymptomatic and radiographically stable on serial exam is more likely to be treated without surgery. On the other hand, a benign tumor causing pain or dysfunction and demonstrating aggressive features on imaging is likely to be treated with surgery.
Malignant bone tumors that develop in the bone are discussed under “sarcoma”. However, other malignant tumors can develop in the bone or spread to the bone from another site of disease (for example, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, renal cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer etc.) and the ideal treatment may be very different depending on the diagnosis and a number of other factors. Furthermore, advancements in medicine have allowed for more surgical treatment of metastatic disease and quality of life improvement as a result.
Benign and Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors
Lumps and bumps are common and can represent benign or malignant soft tissue tumors or disease. Most of the time these masses are benign tumors such as a lipoma (a benign tumor consisting of fatty tissue). However not all masses are benign and all lumps or bumps should be evaluated by a doctor. If any concern remains after a thorough evaluation it is prudent to obtain a tissue diagnosis from a biopsy. A biopsy can be performed in several ways but typically involves a needle or a small incision so that tissue from the mass is sampled and analyzed by a trained pathologist. Treatment will heavily depend on the pathologic diagnosis.
Surgery can be effective for both benign and malignant disease when indicated. For example, a small lipoma that is asymptomatic and not enlarging does not necessarily need to be removed but for some patients the mass may be a cosmetic concern and that can warrant removal. On the other hand, a benign mass that is enlarging or symptomatic is more likely to benefit from surgery. The treatment of malignant soft tissue masses is more complex (see soft tissue sarcoma) and can vary depending on the pathologic diagnosis.