Do tumors hurt?

Posted By
7/16/2013 5:29pm
Replies: 10

Swelling that can be felt on the surface......if that were a tumor, would it be painful?

benp - (7/16/2013 - 7:46pm)

Somtimes yes, sometimes no. You haven't given much information to go on.



Anonymous - (7/16/2013 - 8:27pm)

Melanoma spot on skin removed, two more suspicious ones to be seen next week.  Swellings on arm and leg, no apparent reason.  Worried that it might be related.  Since they don't hurt, I was wondering if that would separate it from skin cancer.  Evidently not.

Janner - (7/16/2013 - 10:12pm)

Are these swelling anywhere near the original melanoma?  How deep was your melanoma?  Much of this would depend on location.  If you melanoma was on your trunk, then swellings on the arm/leg wouldn't be too likely.  Same with a primary on the arm -- swelling on the leg unlikely related.  You can't say it isn't cancer, but the odds would not be high.  You could also have something as simple as a lipoma - essentially a fat tumor that can often be felt just under the skin.  Very common, very benign.  But there is just no way to comment on your situation without more information.  What stage are you?  Filling out a profile and not posting as anonymous so we could read your background could be very helpful.  You don't have to use your real name to post so can still maintain anonymity. 

Anonymous - (7/23/2013 - 10:04am)

So, I went to derm at teaching hospital that has a melanoma clinic, but not sure if this derm is a specialist in that.  When I called to make the appointment the receptionist asked if I had been diagnosed.  Well, yes, I had a melanoma spot removed, and have another spot that looks just like that one to be checked.  Then she scheduled me with a melanoma oncologist, which didn't sound right, so  then she scheduled me with a derm "that has seen a lot of melanoma."

So I made the drive, braved the city traffic and had this derm look at it.  This was a very young woman in totally frivolous high heels.  This should not affect her ability, but it did make me wonder how serious she was!  She said it was a very slow growing type and to just watch it for change.  So, one derm takes off a similar mark and leaves a big dent in my back, but this one is just  wait and watch????   At this point, I did not mention the swellings, as I doubted she was going to know.  They are on arm and leg, melanoma spots on back/shoulder were on the opposite side.  Swellings are big, inches across, not bumps, nothing on the surface at all.

So, now what?  Go to oncologist locally and have them checked?  Losing faith here.

I keep asking these people why freckles, age spots and hyperpigmentation from certain drugs are not malignant but a spot that just looks like a big freckle can be malignant.  They tell me the cells look atypical, but add that not all derm path people agree with each other.  Argghh.

POW - (7/23/2013 - 11:34am)

I'm sorry but I still don't have enough information to offer you any advice. As Janner (our "melanoma guru") suggested before, it would help us a lot if you completed a profile. What did your original path report say? How deep? What was the mitotic index? Did you need a WLE? If so, what was the result?

If you mistrusted the dermatologist at the major medical center so much that you wouldn't even mention the lumps that are concerning you, what type of doctor would you trust? What are your criteria? Specialty? Age? Gender? Location? Training? 

Anonymous - (7/23/2013 - 11:51am)

.115 mm depth, zero mitotic rate for original mark that was removed.  About the size of a pencil eraser diameter. 

My question has more to do with why two marks that looked similar are handled differently by two different people.  Why was the first one removed, while the second one is watch and wait.  I really don't know who to believe at this point.  It is clearly a difference of opinion between professionals.  However, one was a local derm and the other was derm in teaching hospital derm clinic that does have melanoma specialists.

lrkg1234 - (7/16/2013 - 9:29pm)

Unfortunately I have seen a lot of tumors.  My husband has some tumors as you described that are under the skin and flesh toned.  Some are very sore and uncomfortable, some are not.  They are all melanoma.  Some start out as bumps then they grow larger, turn black and ulcerate.  They are horrible smelling and unattractive, yet the worst looking ones seem to cause less pain than the type that are simply under the skin.  I would get expert advice and not feel safe being told that if it doesn't hurt it's probably OK.  Be safe.

My discovery tumor was on my ilium. It grew into this bone that is the arch of the pelvis, and upward also like a barnacle. I fell on my butt in the mountains, and felt way too much pain on that side. If you feel like you have a deep bruise, and there is no discoloration, go get a CT scan. That is my experience, but it was already stage IV, on discovery, as it had also invaded my lungs. So, yes, in some cases you can feel tumor caused pain. I never felt the tumors in my lungs. Now I am 31 months into the GSK BRAf/MEK combo trial, and doing well, 34 months from discovery. I think being undead is splendid. Keep hope, and keep fighting.

The history of the world is the battle between superstition and intelligence.

DeniseK - (7/16/2013 - 10:14pm)

The one on my arm felt like a pea under the skin, it wasn't painful.  I think what might cause pain is the location of the tumor.  Maybe sitting on a nerve or something if it hurts.  If you have swelling that's different from a sub Q.  You should have it checked out..

Cancer Cannot cripple love, silence courage, destroy friendship, shatter hope or conquer the spirit.

benp - (7/17/2013 - 3:35am)

Actually, just today I woke up with a lymph node met quite painful, where as before it was not painful at all. I have found this with many of my subq mets - sometimes they are painful, sometimes not. When they are, it seems to flare up quickly, and I assume it is due to immunotherapies working well.