When finding a lump on your neck, many people may jump to panic and worry. But very often, this reaction is very unnecessary. Quite often, neck lumps pose no harm to your health and are purely an issue of aesthetics.
What causes neck lumps?
A common cause of neck lumps is a swollen lymph gland. These small, pea-sized collections of white blood cells are a very important part of your immune system. When a part of your body is infected, for example your neck or head, the nearest lymph nodes will become swollen causing the neck lump. They will become sore and tender especially when faced with common infections such as a throat infection, the common cold and tooth infections. Once the body has fought the infection, the swollen lymph nodes will go back to their normal size, will cease to be sore and tender and the neck lump will disappear.
How can you categorise neck lumps?
A major way to categorise neck lumps is if they’re not dangerous to your health aka benign, or dangerous to your health aka malignant. The diagnosis of whether your neck lump is dangerous begins first with a review of your medical history and an examination on the neck lump itself. A benign lump can have many causes, whereas malignant neck lumps can arise from salivary glands, lymphoma or be secondary to throat cancer. This makes the finding of a malignant neck lump extremely important as to know how to proceed and treat it.
I’ve found a lump on my neck, should I do something?
Absolutely. Even if the neck lump treatment reveals that the lump is not a danger to your health, it’s always worth visiting a medical professional and having the neck lump examined. This is even more important if you feel that the neck lump has been around for a longer than normal timeframe. For example, your sore throat has passed but the neck lump remains swollen and persistent.
Do neck lumps have any symptoms?
Unfortunately for both professionals and patients, neck lumps often show no symptoms at all for a prolonged amount of time. It is only when they become enlarged that they become tender, sore and can cause difficulty swallowing.
If the neck lump is malignant and has spread from a tumour located elsewhere on the body, it can have associated symptoms with the primary site. This can include pain in swallowing, difficulty swallowing, earache or a change in the voice.
Should I get my neck lump removed?
As mentioned previously, not all neck lumps are a danger to your health. This means that it isn’t necessary for benign neck lumps to be removed, they just require an examination to determine a diagnosis. If the benign neck lump is recurring, then removal sometimes is necessary to establish a full diagnosis. Some malignant neck lumps, don’t actually need to be removed. They can be treated in a way that does not require surgical removal, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy. You ENT doctor will discuss neck lump removal surgery in Harley Street, London with you.
Where your neck lump is very important!
Back of the neck: It’s very unlikely that a neck lump found on the back of your neck will be serious. Most dangerous neck lumps are found in the nape of the neck. However, some lymph nodes associated with your skin or the hair of the scalp can be found at the back of the neck. Therefore, it’s still important to get a neck lump on the back of your neck checked.
Side of the neck: If a lump is found on the side of your neck, it is extremely important to not wait longer than a month before getting this checked.
Under the jaw: A lump found under your jaw are often benign and associated with infection. Occasionally, a malignant neck lump can be a result of neck cancer of a lymphoma, so it’s always important to get this checked regardless.