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Have lupus. Red raised bump appeared in armpit. Feeling tingling and numbness. Concerned for cancer

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1986
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I have lupus. Recently a red raised bump in my left armpit has gone deeper beneath the skin and is painful. When I press on it, it causes tingling and numbness down into my fingers. Also pain radiates down my left aside of my rib cage. I just recently had a mammogram and it was fine so I wasn't concerned of cancer, etc. But the lump is troubling and painful at times. It comes and goes and is not constant.
Posted Sat, 15 Dec 2012 in Lupus
Answered by Dr. Stephen Christensen 4 hours later
I'm sorry you're uncomfortable. Unfortunately, without an examination it won't be possible to tell you exactly what the lump in your armpit is. However, a couple of thoughts come to mind: given your history of autoimmunity this lump could be an inflamed lymph node, or it might be a developing abscess (a pocket of infection). When you press on it, the lump is probably impinging on the brachial plexus, which is a complex network of nerves that arise from your neck and provide sensation and motor control to your arm, shoulder, thoracic muscles and chest wall skin. That would account for the tingling in your fingers and the pain along your rib cage.
I suggest you have your doctor take a look at this lump at your earliest opportunity. People with lupus develop reactive lymph nodes from time to time, and such nodes typically quiet down eventually. However, if you have an abscess, a systemic infection or a malignancy in the node, the sooner you have it addressed, the better (the latter is unlikely, by the way, as most malignant nodes are nontender and usually don't "come and go").
I hope that answers your question, and good luck!
I'll be available if you have additional concerns.
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