A lump on side of the neck is also called a neck mass. These masses can be large in size or small depending on what caused them. However, most of the lumps that develop on the side of the neck are usually not a cause for alarm as they disappear on their own without treatment. In some cases, the lump may be associated with serious conditions especially if it is persistent and associated with other symptoms like fever and headache. In this case, visiting a doctor will be the best option.
A lump on side of neck can be hard, soft, tender or non-tender. It can be located in the skin or it can come from tissues and organs within your neck. Where the lump originates plays an important role in determining what it is. Because there are many muscles, tissues, and organs near the neck, there are many places neck lumps can come from.
Symptoms associated with lump on side of neck
Since a neck lump can be caused by such a variety of conditions and diseases, there can be many other possible related symptoms. Some people will not have any symptom while others will have some symptoms that are related to the condition that is causing the neck lump.
If your neck lump is caused by an infection and your lymph nodes are enlarged, you might also have a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or pain in the ear. If your neck lump is blocking your airway, you might also have trouble breathing or sound hoarse when you speak.
Sometimes people with neck lumps that are caused by cancer have skin changes around the area. They may also have blood or phlegm in their saliva.
What does it mean if you have a lump on the side of your neck?
When you develop any swelling on your neck you may feel concerned sometimes especially if it is large. As we said, most of the lumps that develop on the sides of your neck are never serious and usually subsides on their own. There are many conditions that will cause you a lump on side of neck and many of them we have discussed below.
It is important for you to know every symptom associated with a particular condition to make sure that you are not suffering from a serious condition that will develop into something serious. For example, it is important to know a symptom of a lump that is cancerous on the neck is that you visit your doctor immediately to avoid severe conditions. Your doctor will carry some examinations and ask you some questions on the way you feel before striking the right treatment for your case.
Can feel a Lump in my Neck?
The most common lumps or swellings are enlarged lymph nodes as we have said above. These can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, cancer, or other rare causes. Apart from that swollen salivary glands under the jaw may be caused by infection or cancer. Lump on side of neck in the muscles of the neck are caused by injury or torticollis. These lumps are often at the front of the neck. Lumps in the skin or just below the skin are often caused by cysts, such as sebaceous cysts.
The thyroid gland may also produce swelling, or one or more lumps. This can be due to thyroid disease or cancer. Most cancers of the thyroid gland are extremely grown very slowly. They are often cured with surgery, even if they have been present for several years.
All neck lumps in children and adults should be checked right away by a doctor. In children, most neck lumps are caused by infections that can be treated. Treatment should start quickly to prevent complications or the spread of infection.
Are Lumps in Neck Normal?
Lumps that form in the side of the neck can be categorized in several ways. One of these is based on whether they are benign or malignant. Dangerous neck lumps are far more common than malignant ones that are usually associated with cancer. The diagnosis of whether a lump in the neck is benign or malignant will be based on medical history, medical examination and special investigations performed on the neck lump. Benign neck lumps can have many causes. The malignant form may originate from lymph nodes and therefore may be as a result of lymphoma or may be secondary to a cancer of the throat.
The second way of categorizing a lump on side of neck is based on where it originates from. There are a number of structures in the neck that can produce a neck lump. For example, a neck lump may arise from the thyroid or parotid gland. Of course the most common site of origin is from a lymph node.
How can you tell if a Lump is Cancerous?
Nobody would want to know that he or she is having a lump on side of neck from cancer. In this case it is important to know how a cancerous lump looks like. It is important you know every symptom associated with tumors and things a person should do in case he /she experiences the symptoms.
When to see a doctor fast
There is no easy way to tell if a lump is cancerous from the outside, but there are some red flags that can show you it is a tumor. If you experience any of the following, make an appointment pronto:
- A hard, immovable lump that isn’t tender
- Any bump in the breast or genital area that persists longer than a few weeks
- A growth that seems to be enlarging rapidly
Lump on Side of Neck Causes
Neck lumps have many causes but, thankfully, the majorities are benign. However, a number of benign lumps will still need to be assessed, partly to rule out the possibility of anything more sinister being behind them but also in case surveillance or surgery is required.
Causes of lump on side of neck
There are numerous things that will cause you to develop a lump in your neck. Some of these conditions last for about a week and the lump simply go away on their own. In serious cases, you may have to stay with the lump for months or even years. Some lumps can be cancerous and therefore call for urgent intervention treat the lump. Here are some of the causes of the lump that develop on the side of your neck.
- Enlarged lymph nodes
A swollen lymph node is the most common cause of a neck lump. Lymph nodes contain cells that help your body fight off infections and attack malignant cells. When you are sick, your lymph nodes can become enlarged to help fight the infection. Other common causes of enlarged lymph nodes include: ear infections, sinus infections, tonsillitis, strep throat, dental infections, and bacterial infections of the scalp
- Autoimmune diseases
A swelling of the thyroid gland is often referred to as goiter. The majority of swellings and lumps in the thyroid gland are completely benign. Thyroid cancer itself is extremely rare. A lump in the thyroid does however require investigation so that a diagnosis of a benign swelling can be made. Ultrasound and fine needle aspiration are used after a full clinical history and examination have been undertaken. Often a repeat fine needle aspiration will be undertaken a few months after the first to completely confirm that the thyroid lump is benign.
- Virus attack
We have three pairs of major salivary glands (parotid, submandibular and sublingual) and many minor salivary glands. A lump on side of neck caused by salivary glands will usually be parotid and submandibular salivary gland swellings. Both of these may be affected by inflammatory conditions.
You may also develop a lump on your neck from injuries. Injury or torticollis can cause a lump in your neck muscles which can protrude outside as enlarged lymph nodes.
Most neck lumps are benign, but cancer is a possible cause. For adults, the chance that a neck lump is cancerous increases after the age of 50, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking, can also have an impact.
Prolonged use of tobacco and alcohol are the two greatest risk factors for cancers of the mouth and throat. Another common risk factor for cancers of the neck, throat, and mouth is a human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. This infection is generally transmitted sexually, and it’s very common. Signs of an HPV infection are now found in two-thirds of all throat cancers.
A bacterial infection can cause neck and throat problems, leading to inflammation and a neck lump. Many of these may treated with prescription antibiotics. These include a typical mycobacterium, which is a type of bacteria most common in people with compromised immune systems and lung disease. Also, cat scratch fever, peritonsillar abscess, which is an abscess on or near the tonsils, strep throat, tonsillitis, and tuberculosis, can cause a lump on side of neck.
- Thyroglossal duct cyst
This forms in the remnant of the duct that is formed whilst babies are developing in the womb as the thyroid gland moves from the back of the tongue to the lower part of the neck. These cysts typically form a lump on side of neck that is often around the hyoid bone level. The hyoid bone is horse-shoe shaped and it anchors the tongue. They can cause an acute infection and therefore they are red, painful and cause discomfort on swallowing. These can become a recurrent problem and often are visibly obvious.
- Branchial cyst
These cysts are usually seen in the first two decades of life often in association with an upper respiratory tract infection. They may seem just like lymph node lumps but sometimes they can expand to a significant size. They are always sited high in the neck, tucked under the long muscle in the side of the neck that runs from the throat to behind the ear. These can be very troublesome and can cause repeated infections.
- Parotid gland lumps
The many number of lumps in the parotid gland are benign and of these the majority are a common benign tumour. These do require to be assessed as they still have a small malignant potential and will probably grow. As they are easier to remove when they are smaller it is sensible to discuss the pros and cons of a surgical approach to them as early as possible.
Lump on Right Side of Neck no Pain
A lump on side of neck with no pain can be the one carrying a lot of problem than the painful one. In this case, you have to observe the lump and ascertain if in addition to its painlessness it is increasing in size or it is associated with swollen lymph nodes on the sides of your neck. However, this does not mean that all painless lumps on the neck are a cause for alarm.
If the painless lump is associated with other serious symptoms like fever and headache, it is important you go see your medical provider to make sure that you are not dealing with a severe condition. A lump on the right side of the neck can mean many things, so it is not advisable for you to conclude on things that you are not sure of. Only after diagnosis is when you can be sure of the cause of a painless lump on the right side of your neck.
Lump on Right Side of Neck Painful to Touch
A painful lump or swelling that appears suddenly over a day or two may be caused by an injury or infection. It is likely to be an infection if the skin around the lump is red and warm. Your GP can advise you about how to care for this.
A painful lump on side of the neck can either be swollen glands – usually a sign of infection, such as a cold or glandular fever; the glands tend to go down when you recover or a harmless fluid-filled cyst lump that may disappear on its own without treatment
Hard Lump on Neck for Years
Neck masses are common nowadays and many people complain about them. Although the differential diagnosis varies, it can be narrowed down on the basis of the age of the patient, the location of the hard lump on the neck, and the history and physical examination findings. For example, most neck lumps in the pediatric population have an infectious etiology, whereas those in adults are considered to be malignancies until proven otherwise.
Evaluation and management of a hard lump on side of neck depends on the clinical context; the workup and treatment may include observation, fine-needle aspiration (FNA) or open biopsy, antibiotics, or neck dissection or a wide local excision. If not taken serious, these lumps can stay for many years.
Small Lump on Side of Neck Child
Your child can as well develop a lump on side of the neck. Neck masses can vary in size and consistency, and may be red or pink, swollen, and tender. Often, neck mass forms on the front middle part of the neck or just below the jaw, but it may appear on any part of the neck.
Lumps in children neck are common. Although they may be alarming to parents, they are usually not cancerous or even serious. A lump on side of neck may appear in children ranging in age from infancy to adolescence. They are slightly more likely to affect children under age five because infections of all types are more common in young kids, and a neck mass may form as the result of an infection.
Even though lumps in neck are rarely a sign of a serious health problem, any mass should be evaluated by a doctor right away. This ensures that, if needed, our doctors can begin treatment immediately.
Hard Immovable Lump under Skin
There are numerous possible causes for hard immovable lumps that form under the skin. The lump could be any of the following things:
- Lipoma: This is one of the most common types of lumps found under the skin. Lipomas are small, fatty masses that are harmless to your health. Your lump may be a lipoma if it feels soft and rolls easily under your skin.
- Cyst: A cyst is an enclosed sac under the skin containing fluid or semisolid material. It is often yellowish in color and can be moved around under the skin. In most cases, cysts like these are not harmful to your health and require no treatment.
- Abscess: An abscess is a collection of pus that causes swelling and inflammation. It is usually a response to bacteria, parasites or foreign substances. Some abscesses are red, raised and painful.
- Corn or callus: Corns and calluses are formed in response to continued pressure on a certain area of skin. They often occur on toes, feet and hands and feel quite hard. The skin may appear thickened, yellowish or flaky on top of the corn or callus.
- Malignant tumor: It’s possible that the lump under your skin is a cancerous tumor. Fortunately, the chances of this being the case are quite slim for most individuals, especially considering all the other possible causes of this condition.
Lump on Side of Neck Treatment
In some cases, a lump under your skin can be treated at home. Warm compresses may be helpful for certain conditions, such as abscesses or cysts, especially when swelling is occurring. When it comes to corns and calluses, you’ll need to find a way to reduce the pressure that has caused these lumps to form. One example is to place soft pads inside your shoes if the ones you currently wear force too much pressure on certain areas of your feet.
Seeing a Doctor
With any type of lump found on side of neck, it’s best to get it checked out by a physician or dermatologist. The home care tips listed above should be used only as a preliminary treatment. For an accurate diagnosis and more detailed treatment plan, make an appointment with your doctor.
Your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan to help you get rid of the lump under your skin. The following are some of the common treatment options for this condition:
- Tissue sample: When a doctor can’t determine the cause of your cyst with a physical examination, a tissue sample may be needed to provide an accurate diagnosis.
- Surgical excision: This is typically minor outpatient surgery that involves cutting the lump out of your body and removing it through a small incision. Surgical excision can often be performed right in the doctor’s office.
- Antibiotics: Lumps which are caused by bacteria may be successfully treated with an antibiotic prescription from your doctor. Be sure to take the antibiotic exactly as prescribed – this may mean that you have to keep taking pills even after the lump has disappeared.
- Draining: Certain conditions, such as abscesses, may be treated by a doctor cutting open the lump and draining it.
- Steroid injections: a certain lump on side of neck, such as lipomas, can be reduced with steroid injections. However, this treatment usually doesn’t make the lump disappear completely.
- Liposuction: Lumps may also be removed with liposuction, which involves using a large syringe to remove fatty tissue.
- Cancer treatment: There are numerous cancer treatment options, including radiation and chemotherapy, for those whose lump is caused by cancer.