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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Noticed hard lump under skin on upper arm. Could it be cancerous?

Answered by
Dr. Das Arindam

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 1416 Questions

Posted on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 in Cancer
Question: I have noticed a hard lump under the skin on my upper arm about an inch and a half above the elbow which seems to be attached to the bicep. Any idea what it is? I'm worried that it could be cancerous.
Answered by Dr. Das Arindam 40 minutes later

Thank you for posting a query.

From the description, it can be said that the lump could be a soft tissue lesion. It may originate from a muscle or a nerve or fat or skin adnexa.

If it originates from a muscle, it could be a regenerating muscle nodule / nodular fasciitis / a benign muscle proliferation / lastly, a sarcoma.

If it originates from nerve, it could be a neurofibroma (most common) / a benign nerve sheath tumor / a malignant lesion.

Among the other possibilities, it could be a lipoma / skin adnexal tumor.

From the above discussion, it is clear that many disease conditions can cause this type of lump.

To differentiate these conditions from each other, clinical examination is very important. Its size, shape, position, consistency, mobility, relation with the underlying structure – all are needed for a diagnosis.

Then, you have to go for fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). It will definitely tell us about its neoplastic character, its nature and cell of origin. After that depending upon that FNAC report, next line of management should be determined.

If FNAC becomes noncontributory, then biopsy from that lesion should be considered and it should be sent for histological examination. Next line of management will depend upon the biopsy report.

Lastly, you should consult a general surgeon for a thorough clinical examination, for ordering required investigations and also for further management accordingly.

Hope this information suffices. Let me know, if you have any more question.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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