What Are the Symptoms of a Chest Tumor?

Tumors and masses are most often diagnosed through a chest x-ray.
Chest pain and shortness of breath may be symptoms of a chest tumor.
Article Details
  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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A chest tumor is an abnormal growth found in or on the chest wall. This growth can be malignant or benign, though it is more common for a tumor of this sort to be benign. Early on, there are usually very few, if any, symptoms of a chest tumor. Later, some symptoms can include pain, a visible lump, muscle atrophy, impaired mobility, and shortness of breath.

The chest cavity contains vital organs, particularly the heart and lungs. This cavity is surrounded by the chest wall, which is made up mostly of muscles and rib bones. A tumor will typically grow very slowly in the chest, so there are rarely early symptoms. This is especially true for benign chest tumors.

One of the most common symptoms of a chest tumor is pain. This is true for almost every malignant chest tumor and some benign ones. The pain is usually located around the area where the tumor is growing.

A lump is another common chest tumor symptom. This can sometimes be seen by the naked eye. It will protrude out of the chest wall slightly. In other cases, this lump can not be seen, but it may be felt.

Muscle atrophy occurs when there is a significant decrease in the amount of muscle. This can be another symptom of a chest tumor. Muscle atrophy typically only occurs with certain types of benign chest tumors.


Impaired mobility may be another symptom of a chest tumor. This does not happen with all chest tumors, though. It typically occurs in individuals suffering from malignant tumors of the chest.

A tumor in the chest may also cause shortness of breath. This rare symptom typically only happens in a handful of cases. Chest tumors that have grown very large, however, may make it more difficult for the lungs to expand completely. This can make it hard for a person to catch his breath.

Chest tumors are often first diagnosed on accident. These masses will typically show up on a chest x-ray done for a bronchitis diagnosis, for example. Cancerous chest tumors will obviously need to be treated. Benign tumors, on the other hand may only be treated if they cause problems. Treatment of a chest tumor often involves surgery, but radiation and chemotherapy may also be necessary for cancerous chest tumors.


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