Lumps on Neck

Having a lump on the neck should not worry you. But since this could be associated with something as severe as cancer, a medical diagnosis would give you peace of mind, and also help rule out potential problems, if there are any.
In the neck and head region, our body has numerous lymph nodes that can get swollen due to an infection or some other problem. This lump might be just a harmful skin lesion, or it could be cancerous. You will not know about the true nature of this lump unless you get yourself checked by a good physician who will refer you to a specialist if need arises.
Presence of a Lump on Your Neck
To decide whether the lump is harmful or not, it is necessary to consider:
  • Its size
  • Its consistency
  • Its attachment
  • Its pulsation
  • Its color
  • Its tenderness
  • The area where the lump is found
Usually, the area behind/below the ear, area below the jaw, collarbone region along with lateral and anterior neck get lumps. Upon finding a lump in the neck, most people jump to a conclusion that it is a tumor. However, you can not run the risk of diagnosing it on your own as there are also numerous other causes which can lead to the formation of a lump in your neck region. Below are some of the causes of neck lumps.
Enlarged Lymph Nodes
This is one of the most common reason for the formation of lumps in the neck. The reasons can be common cold, viral infection, bacterial infection, sore throat, strep throat, tuberculosis, epiglottitis, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, peritonsillar abscess, cancer, etc. To treat a swollen lymph node, you need cure the underlying problem after which the swelling will subside.
Skin Boil
A tiny lump on neck is seen due to a hair follicle that has become infected. It may become itchy and painful. Pus may form in the boil which may cause inflammation. It is usually harmless and goes away on its own, or with the help of topical medications.
Sebaceous Cysts
A swollen hair follicle or skin irritation may cause a cyst filled with yellowish goo. The sebaceous cyst is tender and painless. A small sebaceous cyst is harmless and cures on its own. However, if the size increases, it may need advanced treatment.
Lipoma
This is a soft and movable benign tumor that is seen as a lump on neck under the skin. Most of the time, it does not cause any pain and can be removed easily by cosmetic surgery.
Goiter
The huge lump on neck caused by goiter is mostly due to an iodine deficiency. Proper medications at an early stage can prevent big lump on neck. Goiter may cause the expansion of the lump on the side of neck. Goiter lumps that are very large in size or malignant have to be surgically removed.
Thyroid Problem
The thyroid gland is located in the throat region. So, any malfunctioning of the thyroid gland can cause lumps on neck. Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease, and other hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism diseases may cause hard lump on neck. Hypothyroidism is mainly caused due to under-production of the thyroid hormone whereas hyperthyroidism is due to over-production of thyroid hormone.
Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer can be a reason behind lump on the neck. The lumps are generally benign types. The few that are malignant have to be terminated surgically.
Tonsillitis
Swelling of the tonsils may lead to lump on the neck. A person suffering from tonsillitis may experience pain during swallowing and coughing. Medicines are prescribed by doctors for recovering from tonsillitis. In some cases, they also recommend the removal of tonsils.
The other diseases that may be responsible for lumps on neck are glandular fever (mononucleosis), branchial cleft cyst, lymphoma, carotid body tumor, otitis media, mumps, rubella, cystic hygroma, laryngocele, oropharyngeal cancer, pharyngeal pouch, thyroglossal cyst, etc. Infections can also give rise to lumps under the skin or on the back of neck. A growing lump on neck in children can be fatal and have to be diagnosed as soon as possible. On the other hand, it's also not out of the ordinary for kids to have mobile and non-tender lumps on their neck which go away on their own.
A lump on the neck that hurts can be dangerous and has to be immediately shown to the doctor. The reasons for lump behind or below the ear can vary from simple things like allergies, to disastrous ailment like cancer. Any lump on neck region that is larger than a pea-size is worrisome. If it disappears on its own in two week's time, it may be harmless. However if it grows or hurts, the best way out is to rush to your physician.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.