When to Worry About Your Body’s Lumps and Bumps
After all, a lump can, in rare cases, mean cancer. But not every bump or lump should cause concern or worry. Advertising Policy Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy To get a better understanding of when something new is worth talking to your doctor about, we spoke with orthopedic surgeon Nathan W.
Mesko, MD. Are all lumps cause for concern? The good news is that a majority of these lumps are harmless and not a cause for concern.
A number of skin or medical conditions can cause lumps and bumps to appear on the surface or just below the skin. When not to worry Lumps that are not a cause for concern have some distinctive characteristics. Not-so-serious lumps usually are: Mobile, meaning it moves and changes form when you touch it. Located in the superficial or fat layer of skin. Grow large and painful with activity, and diminish in size with rest. Athletes of all levels experience the occasional bump as a result of exercise, training, competition or other physical activity, he adds.
Mesko says. When to see a doctor In rare cases, an unexplained lump, bump or swelling can be a sign of a more serious issue beneath the skin. Bumps that are cancerous are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. The mass will grow in size steadily over the weeks and months. Cancerous lumps that can be felt from the outside of your body can appear in the breast, testicle, or neck, but also in the arms and legs. Adult soft tissue sarcoma One type of cancerous lump that can form almost anywhere in the body is called adult soft tissue sarcoma.
The soft tissues of the body include the muscles, tendons the bands of fiber that connect muscles to bones , fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and the tissues around joints. Most frequently, though, adult soft tissue sarcoma develops in the legs, arms, chest or the area behind the abdomen called the retroperitoneum, says oncologist Dale Shepard, MD, PhD. Shepard says.
Most commonly, soft tissue sarcomas feel like masses or bumps, which may be painful. If the tumor is in the abdomen, it may produce nausea or a sensation of fullness as well as pain, he says.
Adult soft tissue sarcoma is rare. Other causes Other conditions can cause swelling leading to new lumps, too.
This is especially true when the lump or bump is soft, moves or changes form when you touch it or apply pressure, or grows larger and more painful when you are physically active and returns to normal when you rest.
Despite these reassurances, we at United Hospital Center UHC encourage you to learn more about when a lump or bump warrants medical attention. We highlight the characteristics of three types of potentially concerning body lumps and bumps below.
After all, a new lump in the breast is often the most common sign of cancer and the first one that women discover. Some lumps are hard and painful while others do not cause any pain. The latter are more likely to be a benign breast condition such as a cyst.
We encourage you to schedule an appointment at UHC for any breast lump that concerns you. The earlier you intervene with breast cancer, the greater the chances of you making a full recovery. UHC also encourages you to start monthly breast self-examinations if you have not done so yet.
You can check your breasts for new lumps in one of the following three ways: Standing in front of a mirror: With your arms lying against your sides, look into the mirror to get a visual impression of your breasts. You should then raise both arms over your head and look for any noticeable changes in the dimpling or contouring of your breasts, swelling, or changes to either nipple.
Finish the exam by placing your palms on your hips and flexing your chest muscles. When lying down: To start your exam, place a pillow under your right arm and shoulder directly behind your head.
With the pads of your left hand, move around your right breast starting from the outside and working your way toward the nipple and armpit. Vary the pressure you apply to see if you can find any new lumps or bumps. You will also want to squeeze each nipple and check for unusual discharge While in the shower: Using the tips of your middle, pointer, and ring finger on one hand, move around the entire perimeter of each breast starting with the outside and moving toward the center.
Do not forget to check under your armpit area as well. You should be feeling for hard lumps, hardened knots, or thickening of the breast tissue. These are symptoms that deserve immediate consideration.
The lymph vessels carry a type of clear watery fluid throughout the body while lymph nodes work to filter harmful substances from invading it. Every person has hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body.
They are movable lumps approximately the size of a pea most typically founds in the armpits, collarbone, groin, and neck. Your lymph nodes swell in response to something as minor as a cold or due to mild infections. That is because they are being overtaken by dead cells. We encourage you to schedule an appointment for an evaluation at UHC if your lymph nodes swell to larger than pea-sized or it is noticeable to you for more than two weeks.
Lymph cell abnormalities can indicate several types of cancer or they could be due to another cause. If you find something that concerns you, the only way to know for sure is to schedule a follow-up exam at UHC. Skin Cysts A skin cyst is a benign growth filled with pus, fluid, or another type of bodily liquid. Cysts can appear anywhere on your body and may look and feel like a small, hard pea. The most common causes of cyst formation include clogged oil glands, infections, and a growth that develops around a foreign body such as an earring or navel ring.
They typically grow slowly over time, are not painful, and feel smooth when you touch them. Although most cysts disappear on their own without any treatment, others are persistent and you will need to schedule an appointment to have them drained.
These are just three common types of lumps or bumps that you may find worrisome. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need guidance on other types or would like to request an appointment to investigate any type of suspicious lump or bump.
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When not to worry Lumps that are not a cause for concern have some distinctive characteristics. Not-so-serious lumps usually are: Mobile, meaning it moves and changes form when you touch it.
Lumps and Bumps on Your Body: When You Should Worry
Located in the superficial or fat layer of skin. Grow large and painful with activity, and diminish in size with rest. Athletes of all levels experience the occasional bump as a result of exercise, training, competition or other physical activity, he adds. Mesko says.
Painless Lump Behind Ear: 3 Common Types, Symptoms, and Treatment
When to see a doctor In rare cases, an unexplained lump, bump or swelling can be a sign of a more serious issue beneath the skin. Bumps that are cancerous are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. The mass will grow in size steadily over the weeks and months. They are rubbery and the size of a pea.
Spotting the difference: Swollen lymph nodes in leukaemia VS during an infection
A midline dermoid cyst on the scalp needs more investigation from a pediatric surgeon. Another common lump is pilomatrixoma, which usually appears on the face, neck or arms, and originates in the hair follicles. It usually manifests as a solitary, asymptomatic, firm nodule.
Hemangiomas develop in the skin when there is an abnormal buildup of blood vessels. This can occur at birth or shortly after. These lumps may increase in size during the first year and then go away on their own over the next three to four years. Most of these do not require surgery unless they are blocking the airway, vision or nostril.
Cysts can develop as a result of infection, clogged oil glandsor around foreign bodies, such as earrings. They are usually slow-growing, painless, and smooth to the touch when they are rolled under the skin.
Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Others may need to be drained.
Skin Lumps: When Parents Should Worry
A Lump in the Breast Many women find lumps in their breast during self-examination. These lumps are often hard and painless, though some may be painful. Not all lumps are cancer, though. There are a number of benign breast conditions like cysts that can also cause lumps.