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    Can a tumour on chest wall be detected by non-medical test?

Posted on Fri, 3 Jun 2016 in Cancer
Question: Can a physician determine if a tumor on the side of the chest wall, half distance between arm pit and lower edge of sternum, is benign or malignant, merely by feeling tumor with hand and taking a measurement? It is approx. 2"-2.5 inches long with 3/4" depth. I had a stage 4 cancer 16 years ago in which a soft lump around left side of neck above clavicle was fortunately misdiagnosed as a sentinel node which led to further tests revealing a thymoma. Primary care physician is reluctant to refer me to another physician for second opinion, only to a plastic surgeon for removal of tumor.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
not always it is possible to distinguish clinically

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your query.

This lump appears to be quite large, as per your description. 2.5 inches mean 6.25 cm long and 3/4 inch depth means 2 cm deep. This is quite large for a chest wall tumor. I assume it has come up recently and not longstanding.

In that case, I would recommend examination by a surgeon or oncologist and if necessary, needle aspiration or biopsy first. Thereafter, planning for surgery.

Hope this helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Indranil Ghosh 34 minutes later
The tumor was discovered mid August and has increased somewhat in mass size and seems to be spreading....I requested to see oncologist but GP did not see need to refer....he was sure it is lipoma, but I'm not convinced...I contacted oncologist's office and receptionist informed me that I need a referral...This is the first time I found that a referral was needed to see a specialist. i have blue Cross/Blue Shield health plan for past 12 years and had no problem going to see specialist for my need....Is this referral procedure a local one or has it become common practice throughout industry? I would definitely want a test done before electing a surgical intervention.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 21 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Yes better to do some evaluation before surgery

Detailed Answer:
From your description, it seems that an evaluation is required before proceeding to surgery.

Referral is a common practice throughout the industry. May be the plastic surgeon will ask for an evaluation. If not, you can request the plastic surgeon to do the evaluation before surgery. I am sure he/she will consider your point of view.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Indranil Ghosh


Practicing since :2004

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