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Clavicle bone spur -vs- tumor
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Clavicle bone spur -vs- tumor

My 54 year-old brother has a bone growth at the throat end of his right clavicle.  It is about the size of the tip of my thumb and irregular in shape.  It is hard like the rest of the bone and feels continuos to the clavicle end.  What is the differential in a lesion of this type to include benign and malignant possibilities?  He has no known malignancy nor any symptoms to suggest this is a metastatic presentation of some unknown primary.  A CT scan did not provide a diagnosis.  Would a MRI be more conclusive? Will a biopsy ultimately be necessary?  Could this just be a bone spur? Or, as the original question asks:  What is in the differential, including benign and malignant possibilities?
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As you can imagine, there are a variety of causes for bone growths, both benign and malignant.  Here is a quick list:

Common types of Benign Bone Tumors:
Giant cell tumor
Osteochondromas
Simple bone cyst

Common types of Malignant Bone Tumors:
Fibrosarcoma
Myeloma
Osteosarcoma

An MRI would give better clarity to define what this lesion is.  If the diagnosis is still in doubt, biopsy would give the definitive answer.  I would discuss these options with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
4 Comments
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The term "bone spur" was used by my brother's physician upon initial examination.  How would you define "bone spur"?
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Here is a quote from a web site that defines what a bone spur is:
"Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are bony projections that form along joints, and are often seen in conditions such as arthritis. Bone spurs are largely responsible for limitations in joint motion and can cause pain.

The reason for bone spur formation is the body is trying to increase the surface area of the joint to better distribute weight across a joint surface that has been damaged by arthritis or other conditions. Unfortunately, this is largely wasted effort by our body as the bone spur can become restrictive and painful.

Bone spurs themselves are not problematic, but they are a signal of an underlying problem that often needs to be addressed. Bone spurs are often documented to help assess the severity of a condition such as arthritis."

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.

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Thank you very much for the information.  It is very helpful.
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Regarding your brother's condition-  I too have a 'bone spur' on my clavical. It's hard, round and about the size of my pinky tip. I am only 42 years old and have no signs of arthritis. My xray showed normal. An orthopedic doc called it a bone spur- he pushed on it and I had no pain.... and my brother passed of Chrondrosarcoma- a bone tumor cancer at 34. Does your bone spur hurt? Can you push hard on it and it doesn't hurt? I know this is patient to patient..so I am just curious as to your final outcome? Thanks Marlin
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A related discussion, Side sternum region pain was started.
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