Nodular fasciitis is a type of benign (noncancerous) tumor, that is very rare. It develops anywhere wherein soft tissues are present in the body.
Moreover, this cancer becomes a challenge to diagnose as it mimics the cancerous (malignant) tumors. Thus, to avoid unnecessary treatment for another mistaken cancer, it is important to diagnose it accurately.
Besides, nodular fasciitis is a usually small, solitary, and fast-growing tumor. It can occasionally become painful. There is no known cause for nodular fasciitis.
Cancer usually affects adults lying in the age group of 20 to 40 years. However, it can affect individuals of other ages too. Furthermore, it occurs in females and males with an equal frequency.
It is not clear what exactly causes nodular fasciitis. However, some researchers believe that the tumor may occur because of an injury to a particular area.
Furthermore, the tumor may develop anywhere in the body. It can occur inside the mouth as well. Mostly, it affects the parts like the forearm, thigh, upper arm, arms, head and neck region, trunk, and legs. Out of these organs, it mostly affects the arms.
Nodular fasciitis can develop as a small soft tissue in many organs. It develops under the skin with the following characteristics:
The rapid growth of the tumor.
Tumor is solitary
Tumor feels firm
No pain in the tumor usually
Tenderness in the tumor
It doesn’t metastasize (spread to other parts).
It has a round or oval shape and regular margins.
Furthermore, to distinguish it from a malignant tumor, there is nothing in the appearance of the tumor.
Diagnosis of nodular fasciitis is not an easier job. This is because the tumor resembles several cancerous (malignant) tumors. Furthermore, the tumor is very rare. For instance, only 0.025 percent of total tumor cases include under this category. This makes the diagnosis even tougher.
There are several tumors that nodular fasciitis can resemble. For instance, it can mimic Spindle cell sarcoma, Pleomorphic adenoma, Fibromatosis, Fibrous histiocytoma, and several Benign nerve sheath tumors. Therefore, before going for the tests, your doctor will check the signs and symptoms physically.
He/she will enquire about your general health. Your doctor may ask you for the symptoms or your medical and family history. This way, he/she will try to establish a link between family history and some risk factors like genetics.
After a thorough physical examination, your healthcare provider will order some imaging tests. For instance, your doctor may characterize several features of nodular fasciitis by sonogram, MRI scan, or a CT scan. These tests are particularly helpful in detecting the tumors of soft tissues like nodular fasciitis.
After these tests, if your doctor suspects a tumor, he/she may go for a biopsy. A biopsy is an ultimate test to confirm the diagnosis. In these tests, your surgeon will remove a part of your tumor tissue. He/she will then analyze the cells under a microscope.
If there are changes in the cells, it means that a tumor is present. Furthermore, your doctor may not confirm a diagnosis sometimes until the tumor is removed surgically. This shows how difficult it could be to detect nodular fasciitis.
Depending on the size and location of the tumor, you can have different treatment options. In certain cases, the tumor resolves on its own without any medicine or treatment. Additionally, researchers have been working on cases where the tumor resolves on its own.
Observation. In certain cases, your doctor may do nothing other than observing the tumor. Sometimes, nodular fasciitis needs no specific treatment other than careful observation.
Surgery. This is the right way to treat nodular fasciitis. In this method, your doctor may remove your tumor wholly or partially. Virtually, in all cases, no recurrence of the tumor occurs.
Pinhole laser. In case the tumor is present in areas like the face, you may choose this treatment option. It is because no scar is left upon the treatment.
In this technique, a technician uses a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser in a pinhole pattern to kill the tumor cells. However, one of the prerequisite things for this option is that you should have no malignancy in the tumor.
Corticosteroids. A corticosteroid injection may help resolve the tumor if it is present as a large mass on the face. Several studies prove that this treatment option is highly effective.
It gives you better results with minimal recurrence. However, the malignancy needs to be ruled out here before applying the treatment.
Coping and support
When you get diagnosed with nodular fasciitis, it could be frightening for you. The condition will be no different for your family.
However, you may learn to cope with the uncertainty and distress related to cancer with time. Thus, you need to follow these instructions until then;
Call on for medical support:
Various things are going to help you. For instance, the knowledge and understanding of a medical social worker, or any other mental health professional is necessary. They will help you in understanding your cancer.
Furthermore, if your child or other family member suffers from cancer, you need to ask health care professionals for advice. They will provide you with options for medical health support. This will also provide you with emotional and social support.
In addition to this, you can check various online services that will provide you support to combat cancer.
- Gain more knowledge about nodular fasciitis to make decisionsabout control and care:
Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to nodular fasciitis. Little knowledge is dangerous. Therefore, more confidence in understanding and making decisions about treatment options will be there with you. So you should always learn more about the disease.
Ask the health care team for guidance if your child has cancer. Therefore, get more and more information for appropriately caring for the patient.
Be close to your friends and family:
A close and strong relationship with your family and friends is necessary. It will help you deal with nodular fasciitis.
You need practical support, moral support from your friends and relatives. Thus, someone should be there for you to look after the family. Emotional support from them is going to matter most. Thus, a healthy and happy person will ultimately efficiently fight the disease.
Prepare for your appointment
You are likely to start making an appointment with your primary care doctor if some signs and symptoms worry you. Ask for a referral to an experienced specialist if your doctor suspects nodular fasciitis.
A team of specialists typically can treat. For instance;
Tumor surgeons who have specialization in operating soft tissue cancers.
Doctors who have a specialization in treating cancers with systemic medications or chemotherapy.
Pathologists diagnose the specific type of cancer by analyzing a tissue.
Rehabilitation specialists who after surgery help in the recovery of a tumor.
What you should expect from your doctor:
You will face several questions from your doctor. Thus, you should be ready to answer these. So, give more time to your doctor to address them. Your doctor may ask;
What signs and symptoms concern you more?
Have your symptoms been occasional or continuous?
When did you start to notice the symptoms?
The severity of your symptoms?
Is there anything that improves your symptoms?
Is there anything that worsens your symptoms?
Do you have any family or personal history of cancer?