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Date of last update: 8/19/2017.

Forum Name: Surgery Topics

Question: raised cervical neck lump for 6 months now

 UKlady - Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:53 pm


I went to my doctor 3 months ago because of a lump on the back of my neck. She felt it and sent me for blood tests which showed nothing. The lump is still there 3 months later. It doesnt feel rubbery it feels hard. If it was something sinister what would this show in a blood test and if so how?

I appreciate your input. many thanks
 Dr. A. Saif - Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:40 pm

User avatar Dear UK Lady,

Certainly a blood test can give a clue as to the problem in many lumps, but it is not the only test. Some sinister and non sinister causes can be picked up through a blood test. It is not the only way of identifying the cause... In order to help we need a bit more information, before we go up the investigative ladder. Could you answer a few questions

1) Where exactly is the lump?
2) Is it painful? is it getting bigger?
3) You say it is hard and it attached to the skin, or deep to it? Is it mobile?
4) Is there any redness or other discoloration associated with it?

There a lot of other questions, but these will do to start with...
 UKlady - Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:00 pm

) Where exactly is the lump? - The lump is situated on the right hand side at the back of my neck just under the hairline.
2) Is it painful? is it getting bigger? The lump itself is not painful , altho lately i have noticed some aching in the area around it. And no its not bigger
3) You say it is hard and it attached to the skin, or deep to it? Is it mobile? It isnt attached to the skin, but is underneath it and no it is not mobile.
4) Is there any redness or other discoloration associated with it? NO redness altho I keep breaking in out in spots in the immediate area around the lump

Once again, many thanks
 Dr. A. Saif - Thu Oct 28, 2004 3:52 pm

User avatar Dear UKLady,

Thanks for the info...lets see is difficult to say without having you directly infront of me, but here are the most likely diagnoses

You say it is not attached to skin, but deep to it, but is immobile. This means when your move the skin over this area, the lump does not move with it. If this is the case this may represent an occipital lymph node, or a lipoma, fibroma or some such lump. It is worth investigating this further. A lymph node in this are could be enlarged for a variety of reasons, your doctor would be able to help, and I would recommend a further visit if you are particularly worried.

Much more common, particularly as you say that there is a skin eruption around this lump however are problems related to the scalp itself. Two that come to mind are the sebaceous cyst, or local abscesses of the hair follicles sometimes called carbuncles. The latter responds to antibiotics, the former may be left alone orr be dealt with surgically.

I hope this is helpful, but if you have more questions pease let me know

 UKlady - Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:00 pm

Thankyou for your reply.

I have to wonder about the variety of reasons you mentioned that a lymph node could be raised for? I know lyphomas cause this but what else can. Thanks
 Dr. A. Saif - Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:29 pm

User avatar Dear UK Lady,

I guess there are a lot of reasons why there may be enlarged lymph nodes, some serious and some not so...which is why I didn't expand on it further...

Lymph nodes, drain lymph from areas in your body, and are part of the bodies defence mechanism.

Infection is the most common cause...these are usually short lived, and once the infection settles, the node usually settles down as well. Nodes in that area that you describe could be affected by infections in the scalp, the back of neck, the back of the ear. Sometimes nodes get enlarged if you recently had a tattoo in this region. On occassion lymph node enlargement persists long after the infection has gone...and exist merely to cause anxiety ;-)

Lymphoma is as you say a cause of lymphadenopathy as you say. Other causes are secondaries from tumours in the sanme areas described above. These are fortunately rare, and as you have had his lump for several months without change, I would suggest these are also less likely than the infection possibility, if this lump really is a lymph node.

Reactive lymphadenopathy can be caused by skin conditions in the vicinity, and can be triggered by dermatitis, or even sunburn.

I hope this is helpful, and not too anxiety I say, it is difficult to give advice on something i can not see or feel...



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