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Painless swelling in the scapular muscle, hard and enlarged armpit. Reason?

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Practicing since : 1979
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my 79 yr old husband has a very large, painless swelling in the right scapular muscle area of the back not apparent two days ago but very visible and palpable today. His right armpit is hard and enlarged compared to his pain, no other symptoms...good appetite, feels fine...just this sudden swelling. He exercises daily does tai chi. What could cause this?
Posted Mon, 11 Jun 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Jawahar Ticku 3 hours later
Dear Parea,

A significant painless swelling in the scapular region along with a swelling in the axilla needs an attention from the doctor now. It can be painless at present and turn may be painful as the size enlarges. Neoplastic swellings are initially painless but as they grow the pain starts occurring due to pressure effects or local infiltration. Hence any competent physician should suspect a neoplastic swelling at this age.

Of course a full detailed examination and evaluation is required to prove its malignant nature. I suggest to see a General Surgeon who will examine and do the necessary investigations. He can order one of which is called Fine Needle Aspiration test for cytological analysis.

Let me know if you have further clarifications.

Dr. J.ticku
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Painless swelling in the scapular muscle, hard and enlarged armpit. Reason? 20 hours later
We saw our GP yesterday and he has ordered a contrast CT scan but that will not be done until a week from now. He also took blood samples but again, because of the holiday weekend here, we wont get any results until the middle of next week. If this is cancerous will waiting that long effect his outcome...should I take him to the emergency room at the hospital? Thank you for your response.
Answered by Dr. Jawahar Ticku 35 minutes later

Thanks for writing back.

Doing CT scan and blood test is basic investigation which needs to be followed by FNAC or a biopsy.

Delay for a day or two does not matter.

If it is confirmed to be neoplastic, further evaluation has to be done to find the extent of the disease.
Management will depend on when we finally know what we are dealing with.

Follow with your doctor.

Any more guidance I will be happy to provide.

Dr. J. Ticku
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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