The development of an unusual lump in the head and neck region can be a really concerning scenario for most people. Naturally we tend to worry about the worst-case scenario, but this is not always the outcome. It is important that if you develop an unexplained lump in the head or neck region that you seek a medical opinion as soon as possible.
The problem we all worry about is cancer, and while this is a serious concern, there are many potential reasons for developing a neck lump. These include:
- Swelling of lymph nodes after infections.
- Thyroid diseases.
- Tumours of the head, neck and thyroid (benign and malignant).
The obvious symptom is the development of an unexpected neck lump. Other symptoms and information which may be important include:
- Recent infections (Glandular fever).
- Exposure to birds and animals.
- Overseas travel and immunisation status.
- Voice change.
- Weight loss.
- Coughing or vomiting up blood.
- Associated pain.
- History of cancers, especially of the skin.
The key to determining the cause is a detailed discussion with your doctor and a comprehensive physical examination of the head and neck. ENT surgeons like Dr Morrissey are experts in the assessment of the head and neck and are well positioned to help identify the cause of a head and neck lump.
The process of identifying the nature of the problem can also involve directed bloods tests and scans. In some instances, a biopsy of the lump may be necessary to determine its nature.
This depends upon the diagnosis. Some lumps can be watched or left alone as they present no particular risk to the person. Others like cancers will require medical and perhaps surgical treatment to give the best chance of preventing further harm.
Dr Morrissey can discuss the assessment and management of head and neck lumps with you and help to develop a plan should you develop a neck lump.