Neck lump: everything you need to know

Anyone is scared to find a suspicious lump in the neck. The first thing people usually think about is cancer. But nevertheless, there are numerous causes apart from cancer; In fact, not all of them are evil. For example, it may be a limited infection, a cyst or a benign tumor.

The main cause of a lump in the neck is swollen lymph nodes. These are round structures that are part of the immune system and are distributed throughout the body. They help the body recognize and fight infections and tend to swell frequently. It is usually a very common and temporary situation.

In this article we explain everything you need to know about neck lumps.

What are the main causes of a lump in the neck?

As we mentioned before, The most common cause of a lump in the neck is inflammation of a lymph node. In turn, this can occur for different reasons:

  • A close infection. For example, a cold or a throat infection. They are very frequent situations, especially in children. They also highlight mononucleosis, dental abscesses, tonsillitis, etc.
  • Infection of the ganglion itself. It is called lymphadenitis.
  • Systemic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis.

On the other hand, there are immune disorders that as well may cause a lump in the neck. This occurs because they cause swollen glands as well as infections. The most prominent disease is rheumatoid arthritis, a pathology in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue; It mainly affects the joints.

Similarly, certain medications can cause the nodes to enlarge. A lump in the neck can also be a cyst, which is a cavity filled with liquid; They are largely identifiable because many of them are present from birth. Another possible cause is a salivary gland problem.

But nevertheless, we cannot forget that it can also be cancer. Malignant tumors are more frequent in older people. It can be a cancerous lymph node, but it can also be a tumor of a neighboring structure that has spread. In fact, it may even be a distant tumor metastasis.

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Alarm signs and symptoms if you have a lump in your neck

If you have a lump in your neck, It is essential that you go to the doctor to examine you. It is very important to perform the relevant tests to diagnose it. However, in addition to the complementary tests, there are a number of signs that can help us to learn about the nature of these packages.

A soft and painful lump is usually indicative of an infection. They tend to disappear after a period of time. On the other hand, a nodule very sensitive to touch is usually lymphadenitis. If the lump is hard, still and does not hurt, it may be a tumor.

Tumors can also cause other symptoms such as aphonia or difficulty swallowing. If you have a lump in your neck that persists and also causes any of these symptoms, do not delay going to your doctor.

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What tests can be used to diagnose it?

There are numerous tests that help diagnosis. However, if the patient is young, it is not usually a tumor. In addition, if there are signs of close infection, these tests are usually not necessary. Similarly, consistency is taken into account and if it produces pain.

The first test that is performed is the blood count. Chest x-rays can also be used. When there are warning signs or cancer risk factors, more accurate tests can be used. Among them, the biopsy stands out, in which a portion of the lump is removed for analysis.

On the other hand, imaging tests can be carried out. The most used are the CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging. Ultrasound is also useful sometimes.

In conclusion

A lump in the neck is usually a lymph node that has increased its volume. The most common cause of this is a nearby infection that usually resolves without major problem. However, you have to pay attention to other symptoms. If the lump in the neck is not painful and does not move, it may be a tumor. Ideally, see a doctor to get out of doubt.