Most lumps are harmless and can be a variety of things, from a simple cyst to, rarely, something more serious. They can be caused by infections, inflammation, disease or trauma. It’s important to have all the information to make a diagnosis. So, for example, if there has been no injury near the area where your lump has developed then it’s unlikely to be scar tissue.
A lump like the one you describe could be:
1. Lymph gland
The location of your lump near the lymph glands in your armpit suggests that this could be a raised lymph gland, caused by an infection.
2. Epidermal cyst
These affect the epidermis layer of the skin and are made up of keratin and fat. They are generally found on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and upper body and can be triggered by acne or mild injuries to the skin. Look for a slowly developing cyst with a rounded appearance, often no larger than 5cms in size. Key characteristics of epidermal cysts
3. Pilar cyst
This is a keratin filled cyst originating from the outer hair root sheath/hair follicle. Look for these on the scalp and around hairline areas, they can be difficult to distinguish from epidermal cysts in appearance and size. Key characteristics of pilar cysts:
These can grow under the skin as well as internally within the body. Look for a soft, fatty, moveable lump that grows slowly up to a couple of centimetres in size. Key charateristics of lipomas:
This is a benign tumour that can occur within any organ. Rarely do fibromas become cancerous and they may not need to be removed. Surgery is one option for managing them.
This is a very rare type of cancer that often surrounds body structures and organs. A cure is readily achievable if an early diagnosis is made.
Treatment for your lump will depend on diagnosis, so speak to your GP, who may investigate further with a biopsy or ultrasound.
Answered by the Health at Hand team
Skin cyst – NHS Factsheet
Lump or swelling – NHS Factsheet
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