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Lump in neck near cartoid artery. Scheduled for ultrasound. What can it be?

My daughter is ten years old and has had a lump in the side of her neck near the carotid artery for approximately 2 years. It is approximately 3/4 of an inch in diameter and very hard. She does not complain of it hurting, but I am very concerned with this. We have seen an oncologist who after checking her told us just to watch for changes in it. It has started to grow a bit and our PCP is now concerned about it again. We are scheduled for an ultrasound of the neck this week. Should I be really concerned and what can it possibly be?
Asked On : Sun, 10 Feb 2013
Answers:  1 Views:  167
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Pathologist and Microbiologist 's  Response
Hello and welcome to HCM,

Swelling/ lump in the neck can be due to many causes.
Lymph node enlargement is a very common problem in the neck region because a large number of lymph nodes are present in the neck region.
Besides lymph node enlargement, other soft tissue swellings can also be the cause of neck swelling.
A hard to firm lump is more suggestive of lymph node enlargement.
Ultrasonography will tell about the exact location of the lump and other swellings if present in the head and neck region.
Depending on the results of ultrasonography, further investigations can be planned.
The most common first line investigation in a lump is fine needle aspiration.
In this procedure, cells are sampled using a needle, cells are spread, stained and examined under the microscope.
This investigation will determine the origin and character of the lump.

Inflammations are the most common cause of lymph node enlargement.
Inflammation can occur due to infection in the surrounding tissue.
Malignancies either primary or secondary can also cause lymph node enlargement.

Thanks and take care
Dr Shailja P Wahal
Answered: Thu, 27 Jun 2013
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