Tenosynovial Giant Cell Tumor (TGCT) develops in the thin layer of tissue making up the inner joint or in the fluid sacs that cushion the knees, hips, shoulder, ankle, or elbow joints. Although it is a non-cancerous growth, this type of tumor can cause significant damage to the bone structure, surrounding muscle, and tissues connecting vital joints. The risk of this tumor is high among adults between the ages of 20 and 40. However, the condition is quite manageable with the following treatment options.
- Prescriptions for TGCT
There are not many FDA approved medications for managing the symptoms of TGCT. However, only recently the prescribed use of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor inhibitors has been suggested. This helps block the tumor cells from growing. However, it is imperative to note that these medications are experimental, and most of the approved variants are still in their trial stages.
In cases the tumor is recurring and spreading actively, doctors usually perform an open synovectomy or arthroscopic synovectomy to remove the excess growth of cells. A course of CSF1R inhibitors may also be prescribed in between surgeries to provide better relief if deemed necessary.
- Radiation therapy
Where surgery is not sufficient, doctors suggest radiation therapy to remove tumor growths from difficult to reach areas in the joints. Radiation therapy is a minimally invasive procedure and can be done outside the body by directly targeting the affected joint.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help overcome the discomforts and manage the symptoms better in the long run.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Start by shedding a few pounds. The lower the bodyweight of a person, the less is the pressure on the joints or connecting tissues. A healthy weight will automatically reduce the effects of pain, swelling, inflammation, and joint stiffness in the knees, elbows, or hip. These are all joints that are crucial for mobility and range of motion.
- Physical therapy
Doctors highly recommend different types of physical therapy to treat TGCT. Physical therapy exercises help improve the range of motion, enhance muscle strength, and improve mobility to restore proper functionality in the joints. Low impact exercises like stretching, walking, cycling, and swimming can help build endurance gradually. Alternatively, yoga or tai chi can help improve balance and flexibility to further provide relief from TGCT symptoms. Note that it is important to set a schedule and stick to an exercise regime during recovery.
Diet for TGCT pain management
Diet also plays a crucial role in managing the inflammation and pain caused by the tumor’s growth. Certain nutritional deficiencies or foods rich in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fructose can trigger multiple flare-ups or frequent bouts of pain. An anti-inflammatory diet that excludes red meats, processed fats, and certain dairy products (only if a person is lactose intolerant) can lower the risk of these symptoms.
Leafy greens like kale and spinach, collard greens; healthy nuts, including almonds and walnuts; and fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna are excellent additions to a daily diet. A healthy dose of calcium and vitamin D is also necessary for bone health. Milk, yogurt, and cheese make up for the calcium deficiency in the diet. Orange juice, fatty fish, and artificial supplements can replenish the necessary vitamins. Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and cherries are excellent fruits that lower the risk of inflammation even further.