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Noticed movable lump under collarbone. What could be this?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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I am a 26 year old male. Last night, I'm not sure if I was scratching or pushing on a muscle or what, but I discovered a small, approx. .5cm moveable lump under my left collarbone, in the area where my pectoral muscle meets the collarbone, about 3-4inches from where my shoulder starts. This lump is not visible to the eye, it is only 'known' to be there if you put slight pressure on it, and it 'slides' over on top of the collar bone. When released, it returns to its normal position. This lump is not rock hard, but it is not 'squishy', and like I stated is moveable.

My friends wife is a nurse and she looked at it but said I shouldn't be worried because it is probably just a lymph node and is moveable and not worry unless it gets larger. She said if I wasn't able to move it, then I should get it looked at. Of course since finding this I have been looking up all kinds of stuff online and getting worried from some of the responses....which is definitely the wrong thing to do. I have no other symptoms of anything, I got over a cough/allergy cold about 2 weeks ago but currently feel just fine. The 'main' lymph nodes in my neck/throat area are not inflamed.

I have recently lost my job and have no health insurance and have not yet signed up for COBRA, so I am hesitant to do anything because I feel I am probably getting worked up over nothing.

This is not a picture of me, but I want to pinpoint the location for you all. See where this guy has the 'dips' below his collarbone on both sides? I think that's called the triangle area, the bump is there on my left side. You cannot see any type of bulge or anything, but when you put pressure on it, it moves up over the collarbone and then you can feel it.
Posted Fri, 26 Oct 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
The small node that is palpable near your collar bone is likely to be a lymph node.
Any lymph node less than 1 cm in size is not significant. Also, a mobile lymph node of 0.5 cm in size is most likely a normal lymph node which is slightly superficial and hence palpable.
This is most likely a reactive lymph node.There are about 300 lymph nodes normally present in the head and neck region. They are normally not palpable. After enlarging during inflammation or infection they rarely regress to their normal size and then can be felt (palpated) but remain non-tender. Please do not worry.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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