24/4-2014 
 
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Muscles and Tendons

Muscle tumors – Muscle cancer

Definition and causes to Muscle tumors – Muscle cancer

A tumor growth in the skeletal muscles is a rare condition, and it will in most cases involve a benign tumor. There are only a few of the malignant tumors (muscle cancer) annually with less than one such case per one million inhabitants.

The tumor arises from increased and/or altered growth of muscle cells. Benign tumors are unable to grow into surrounding tissues or the spread with the blood. - But the malignant tumors have this ability.

Because the muscles have a large blood supply the malignant tumors tend to spread rapidly, and it is therefore a very serious disease with high mortality.
 

Symptoms of muscle tumors.

The benign tumor:

A tumor, or maybe rather a lump, can be felt in the muscle. Usually it will not be tender and grow relatively slowly. It can be pushed freely (shifted) under the skin and the connective tissue (displaceable).

The malignant tumor:

Also here a tumor (lump) can be felt in the muscle. It might be tender or not. It might have arisen rather fast due to rapid growth. It might be attached to the skin or to the muscle fascia and it is difficult or impossible to push or shift under the skin (non displaceable).
 

Diagnosis of muscle tumors

It is very important to seek medical attention if you discover a lump, anywhere on your body. The doctor will look at the skin over the lump and touch the lump. If there is suspicion of a tumor there is a choice of different imagery diagnostics to establish a diagnosis about the size and possible spread of the tumor. A biopsy (a tissue sample) will also be performed to determine if the tumor contains malignant cells.
 

Treatment of muscle tumors

The benign tumor:

The tumor will often grow to a certain size, after which growth stops. Most often all that is done is to observe the development. However, if the tumor continues its growth, or results in nuisance or pain, it is removed by surgery.

The malignant tumor:

The tumor must be removed by a surgery, which removes more of the surrounding tissue than in the benign tumor cases. Is there spread to the lymph nodes these are also removed where possible.

In some cases it is attempted to stop the tumor growth using chemotherapy or radiation. As the tumor has often spread at the time of diagnosis it might be impossible to remove all the tumor tissue and instead it is attempted to arrest the growth and relieve the symptoms with chemotherapy and radiation.
 

Outlook and complications.

For the benign tumor only very few complications are seen. In rare cases the benign tumor may transform into a malignant tumor, but since the benign tumor is normally being medically monitored the prognosis is much better in such cases than is the case with an emerging malignant tumor.

The prognosis for a malignant tumor depends on the size and dispersion at the time of the diagnosis. If it is possible to remove all tumor tissue during surgery, the patient is in principle cured. As previously mentioned, this is however often not possible because the tumor has a tendency to spread quickly to other parts of the body, making curative surgery impossible.

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