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Forum Name: Head and Neck Cancer

Question: Mass under Mastoid


 JamieGold - Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:16 pm

I am a 34 y/o female. I have had a stationary, firm mass under my Left Mastoid Process for over 5 years. Tha mass is an almost linear growth under the Mastoid in the neck tissue. It is approcimately 1.5 CM in length and seems to be coming from underneath the Mastoid. In the past several months it seems to be getting slightly bigger and there seems to be a radiating heat sensation up the side of my head and down the side of my neck. I sometimes feel the heat down my left shoulder. A lymph node under the mass is recently tender -but not really enlarging. I have to wait a couple of months until my insurance kicks in -but I wanted to get some idea of what this may be or if there was a sense of urgency about it.

Past history: I had a CCA [Cavernous Malformation] located in the Left Hemisphere of my Brain with the initial bleed in 2001. I had a craniotomy in 2003 to resection the area. A venous anomaly is still present. I was wondering if such a mass could be related to this (e.g., draining from the bleed and surgery left such a mass). This is separate, but I also had some type of dermo fibroma removed from my upper back about 7-8 years ago. I was told it was pretty rare. I was thinking this may be a form of fibroma -since it is in my history too.

Thanks for any help. I would prefer to wait until my insurance kicks in. I am up to the limit in medical expenses at the moment with all of the other stuff related to the CCA [Cavernous Malformation].

Best,
Jamie
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:04 am

User avatar Hello,

Have you never been told by your doctor what this mastoid mass represents?

It could be related to your previous procedure but I think a clinical examination should easily identify it. If that is not the case then a CT scan may be required.

The presence of a neck lymph node could be related to an infection. Are you feverish.

I hope you are feeling better. I am sorry I am unable to judge how urgent / or not this situation is given the limitations of the internet. I would recommend you contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Best regards,
 JamieGold - Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:30 pm

Hello Doctor,

The only thing I was told was that it appeared to be a swollen gland. It just seems odd that it would be swollen for over 5 years, growing and firm.

I am not feverish. [low grade < 100]. I did get into the doctors a few days ago. He said he wasn't worried at this point. He prescribed Z-pack and wants to see me in 6 weeks. He said that he is not impressed by the size and that it would have to be a much larger mass to alarm him. He said he has seen masses the size of a baseball. Hence, wait and see. If it gets really large in 6 weeks -then he will pursue a more aggressive approach. Granted, I understand the wait and see -and that many things resolve on their own in about 6 weeks anyway. But this is awfully close to my brain and my medical luck has not been the best -so I'm a bit nervous.

By about day 2-3 on the Z-pack, the heat sensation surrounding the mass calmed way down. It is now an intermittent sensation that is almost gone.

I still don't know what it is, why it is present, why it's unilateral, growing, and so on. If it is aggravated by an infection, I would like to know what is infected. Nothing is apparent at the moment.

I do appreciate your input. Thank you very much for your time.

Best,
Jamie
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:01 am

User avatar Hello,

I would have to agree with your doctor. The wait and watch policy seems sound. Especially that you are already reporting an improvement in symptoms.

It is common for glands to enlarge and to remain felt for years following infection - shotty nodes.

I wouldn't worry about the proximity of this lesion to your brain because you do not have any neurological symptoms.

Should you develop any new symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately.

Good luck!
 JamieGold - Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:26 am

Hello again,

About the Neuro symptoms part... I always have neuro symptoms as a result of the hemsoderin left on my brain from the bleed. The neurosurgeon [Dr. Aurthur Day] said that there was a lot of staining left on my brain after the resection. I have intermittent facial numbness on the left side of my face and down my arm -similar to the path of the heat sensation with the "mass." Oddly, the facial numbness was on the opposite side of my face. Now, it is on the same side as the mass -and I hadn't had any real symptoms associated with the CCA since the surgery until the last several months when I had a hysterectomy and was put on hormone replacement [Estrogen excites the brain -so oops!]. This was another reason I was concerned. The new neuro symptoms and the mass getting bigger on the same side of my head. But doctors typically pawn things off to the bleed and reminants of the CCA -even though the sypmtoms are on the opposite side now. I have another venous anomaly in the Right Frontal Lobe -but it has always behaved and presented with no symptoms.

So, that's the story.

Thanks for your time.

Best,
Jamie

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