Neoplasm in the Chest: Diagnosis, Treatment and Outlook

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Understanding Neoplasms

A neoplasm in the chest is an abnormal growth or tumor that has arisen. After a diagnosis of a neoplasm in the chest, the physician will need to determine if the tumor is made up of malignant or non-malignant cells. The neoplasm will arise from either the skeleton or the soft tissues of the chest cavity or skin. Once a definitive diagnosis is made, the physician and the patient will be better able to determine a treatment course.


A biopsy will help determine the cell type of the neoplasm. The physician will numb the area and insert a needle into the tumor to collect cells to be examined. If the tumor is located in a hard to reach area a surgical procedure may be required where an incision is made and cells are collected. Radiographs will help locate the neoplasms origin. If it arises from the skeleton the physician will often see wide spread skeletal destruction. Using X-ray computed tomography (CT Scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will also aid the physician in diagnosing the condition. The images gained through the test will help measure the neoplasm’s size, shape and possible spread. It may also help determine if the tumor is primary or secondary. A secondary tumor originated in a different location but has spread to form more than one tumor or mass. Secondary tumors often utilize the body’s lymph node or blood system to spread to far reaching areas of the body. The CT Scan and the MRI usually encompass the entire body so the physician can look for other areas that may shows signs of a tumor growth or lesions.

Malignant and Non-malignant

A neoplasm in the chest often indicates lung cancer or mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer that arises in the protective lining of the lungs and heart in the chest cavity. It has an invasive nature and will often infiltrate the chest cavity and organs.

A benign tumor of the chest can often be serious if not promptly treated. Within the chest cavity are the lungs and heart. A benign tumor can place pressure on these vital organs and pose a serious danger to the sufferers health or life. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s website, benign neoplasms of the chest often run in families. They may continue to reoccur and do stand a chance of turning malignant if not treated.


Benign tumors are usually removed surgically. Primary malignant tumors can often be successfully removed through surgery but secondary malignant tumors that arose in a another area of the body and metastasized to the chest cavity are rarely treated through surgery. Surgery may be recommended for secondary metastatic tumors to help alleviate symptoms of pain or suffering.

Suffers of primary and secondary malignant tumors will also be faced with the decision to undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy.


Outlook is largely dependent on the tumor type, size and location. A physician will be able to measure and determine the extent of the tumors infiltration. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment always offers the best hope for cure of a neoplasm in the chest.


University of Rochester Medical Center:


Washington Hospital Center:

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh: