Radiotherapy for palmar fibromatosis (Dupuytren’s contracture)

Palmar fibromatosis, also known as Dupuytren’s contracture, is when 1 or more fingers bend in towards your palm. It is a benign (not cancer) condition.

Radiotherapy can be used to treat palmar fibromatosis. Radiotherapy stops, or slows down, the progression of the condition, and reduces the size of the lumps in your hand.

Causes of palmar fibromatosis

Palmar fibromatosis happens when the tissue under the skin of your palm thickens and becomes less flexible. This tissue covers the finger tendons and pulls the fingers in towards the palm as it becomes shorter and tighter. It can also stop the fingers from straightening.

It can affect any of the fingers, but it’s more common in your ring finger (fourth digit) and little finger (fifth digit). You can get palmar fibromatosis in one, or both hands.

Preparing for treatment

Your radiotherapy planning appointment and treatment will be at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital. The appointment will last about 30 minutes.

The doctor will tell you about radiotherapy and any possible side effects. They will plan your treatment specifically for you.

You will be asked to put your hand on a cushion with your palm facing upwards. The doctor will feel the lumps and put men marks on the areas to be treated.

The radiographer will take measurements and write down where on your hand will be treated. They will, with your consent, take a photograph of your hand. They may make a custom cut-out for your hand. This is a thin sheet of lead that is placed on your hand to protect the skin that does not need treatment.

We want to involve you in decisions about your care and treatment. If you decide to go ahead, you will be asked to sign a consent form. This confirms that you understand what the treatment involves, and agree to have it. 

If you would like more information about our consent process, please speak to a member of staff caring for you.

Number: 5166/VER3
Date published: June 2023
Review date: June 2026

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us

If you have questions about radiotherapy, please contact:

Radiotherapy reception, phone 020 7188 7188, extension 57542 or 57569.

Radiotherapy treatment support team, phone 020 7188 4220, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Outside normal hours, please contact the main switchboard, phone 020 7188 7188 and ask for ‘operator’ or press 0. Ask for the on-call clinical oncology registrar.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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