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Lump in the arm. Is it a lymph node?

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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 2564 Questions
I noticed that I have a lump in my arm. It is located in the crease of my arm, where you bend at the elbow. If I extend my arm out in front of me with my palm facing up, it is in the middle of the crease starting in the center going towards the outer edge away from the trunk. I am not sure if there is lymph node here and if I should be concerned. It seems to start in the middle and extend out 2 centimeters or so, about 1 centimeter in width. I know there is a lymph node near the elbow, but didn't know about directly in the crease like mine. Thank you, I'm really worried.
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Skin Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some good information and recommendations’ regarding what is going on.

The most likely cause of what you are experiencing is what we refer to in medicine as a lipoma. A lipoma is fine collection of fatty tissue which can sometimes gather under the skin. This is not a type of growth which is life-threatening at all. The general recommendation for something like this is observation. If the area of swelling changes in size you can bring it to the attention of your biopsy may be requested. it is most important to have a physician take a look at the area of swelling so that they can provide a clinical judgment as far as what they really think is going on. A lipoma tends to be soft in nature and really non-tender.

It is remotely possible that what you are seeing is a lymph node although this would be quite unusual. It is also very unlikely but still remotely possible that this is some type of other growth. The only way to really tell with 100% certainty would be to perform a biopsy. I think if you are really worried about this and have a lot of anxiety about it, it might be reasonable to discuss a biopsy with your doctor to see what he or she thinks.

I can appreciate again that you're dealing with something which is quite worrisome. Let me reassure you that I do not think there is anything life-threatening going on. I do think you should check in with your doctor for an examination to make some decisions as far as how to approach this with observation or with a biopsy if your doctor thinks it is clinically indicated.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you found my response to be helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert
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