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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What does a large lump on neck indicate?

My mom discovered a large lump on her neck yesterday morning and has no idea how long it has been there. It is towards the side of her neck on the left side. If you were to draw a line from her chin to the side of her neck (just past the middle of her neck), it would be about 1 inch below that line. The lump feels about 1.5 inches. It is firm, and she said that she feels as though it doesn't move much if she feels it. It is causing her some tenderness when touched, and also causing her some discomfort in the back of her head (sore) about 3 inches directly above the lump. She found it because she had a couple pimples on her scalp which were bothering her, then noticed the sore spot on her head and eventually found the large lump. It is visible when I look at her, but normally her hair would cover it up so she has no idea how long she's had it. Should she be concerned about cancer? Could this be a lymph node or a mass that developed? Any info would be appreciated.
Thu, 29 May 2014
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General Surgeon 's  Response
Hello!

Thank you for the query.

If she smokes, she should be afraid of the cancer in this area. Otherwise, it is not cancer related. And yes, this sounds like a lymph node. It can be present due to some infection in the surrounding area. Lymphoma can also cause lymph nodes enlargement, but usually it occurs in many different areas.
I suggest her to do not ignore it. She should consult a doctor and have an ultrasound of it.
If it is a lymph node, biopsy should be considered.

Hope this will help.
Regards.
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