Discovering a lump or mass anywhere on the body is undoubtedly a warning sign. Although the person may immediately think that it is a tumor, the causes of nodes in the neck are many, and it is not necessarily a malignant condition.
On the sides of the neck are the lymph nodes, which are often the leading cause of lumps in the neck when they become inflamed. However, to determine the origin of a mass in this body area, it is necessary to go to a specialist to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Learn about the leading causes of a lump in the neck in this FastlyHealarticle.
Table of Contents
What to do if I detect a lump in my neck
Lumps in the neck are one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. The first thing a person should do when discovering a bump in the neck is to make an appointment with a specialist and analyze what other symptoms they have that can help the doctor find out what is the cause that is causing said mass or inflammation.
Age is a significant factor in determining the cause of a lump in the neck since not all abnormalities of this type are tumors but are often due to an organism’s response to a virus, infection, and other conditions that are not related to cancer: pharyngitis, toothache, angina.
Inflammatory causes of lumps in the neck
As we mentioned before, among the most common causes of the appearance of lumps in the neck, inflammation of the lymph nodes stands out, which can increase in size due to the following conditions:
- Bacterial infections . When a bacterium attacks the immune system, it is common for the lymph nodes to try to defend themselves, and in this process, they become inflamed. This occurs when the condition attacks an area near the neck: pharyngitis, infection due to tooth or tooth extraction, laryngitis, angina, cafeteria, or skin diseases. Other conditions that can inflame glands from bacterial infections include tuberculosis, syphilis, and typhoid fever.
- Virus infections . The process is precisely that of disease by bacteria, only this time, the lymph nodes are inflamed because of a virus that has entered the body. Flu, HIV, mononucleosis, measles, rubella, and toxoplasmosis are diseases associated with swollen glands.
- Less common non-infectious causes: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, and adverse drug reactions.
- When the cause of the Lump in the neck due to swollen glands is the flu, these usually deflate within two weeks of having cured a cold.
Congenital causes of lumps in the neck
Congenital neck lumps are the second most common after inflammatory bumps. These are generally cysts or masses that can be seen from birth, although they can also appear later. These lumps are more common in children than adults, are painless, and are often identified due to growth or infection of the cyst, which can lead to fever. The most common congenital cysts in the neck are:
- Branchial cysts . They are the answer to 20% of the cases of lumps in the neck in children and are formed by embryonic remains grouped in the upper or lower part of the neck. They do not represent any health alarm; they are usually diagnosed at the end of childhood. These cysts can be enlarged due to your infection, which can sometimes break open to the skin.
- Ránula . It is a cyst formed of mucus due to the obstruction of glands on the floor of the mouth. They can be identified under the chin, and their growth is relatively slow.
- Cysts in the thyroglossal duct. They are diagnosed in childhood or after 20, and their growth is associated with their infection. They are located in the middle or upper part of the neck.
- Vascular problems . Another cause of lumps in the neck can be red or bluish abnormalities that appear from birth or maybe due to tumor causes, such as hemangioma, a neoplasm of the most benign blood vessels.
- Laryngocele . It is a kind of air-filled hernia that occurs in an area of the larynx. It is diagnosed because it is also accompanied by coughing and hoarseness.
The tumor causes lumps in the neck.
They are usually not as common as inflammatory neck lumps. However, they should be ruled out in all adults. Nodes in the neck caused by tumors rarely present symptoms and are usually identified by the person casually.
- Lipomas . They are tumors formed by fatty tissue; they are usually benign and do not present symptoms.
- Tonsil or tongue cancer. Due to these types of cancer, lumps in the neck can look like cysts and be mistaken for benign pathology.
- Cancer in the thyroid . In most cases, they are benign nodules that must be removed but do not represent any alarm. They can be mistaken for cysts.
- Salivary gland cancer and parathyroid cancer. When the Lump in the neck is due to cancer in the salivary glands, the tumor is usually malignant. In the case of the parathyroid, it is a mostly benign condition.
- Lymphoma . It is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system and proliferates uncontrollably. Depending on the type of cancer cell, the type of lymphoma will be determined.
- Metastasize . Lumps may appear in the neck as a tumor response to cancer that has spread from its nearby origin to the lymph nodes or other parts of the neck.
Diagnosis of lumps in the neck
To diagnose the cause of a lump in the neck, a physical examination by a specialist is necessary. In general, once in consultation, the doctor will palpate the affected area to determine the size and consistency and, depending on other associated symptoms, may order more in-depth examinations such as:
- Blood test.
- Radiological tests such as computed tomography, x-ray, or echo.
- Needle puncture.
- Lymph node biopsy.
Treatment of lumps in the neck
The treatment of lumps in the neck will depend exclusively on its cause:
- When the cause is congenital, it may be necessary to remove the cyst if it becomes a constant and significant infection. When the genetic cause does not produce any consequences, it may disappear on its own, or the person can live perfectly with the Lump in the neck without putting their health at risk.
- When the Lump in the neck is due to an inflammatory response, the main thing will be to attend to the condition affecting the lymphatic system.
- The treatment of a lump in the neck due to cancer should be attended to depending on the requirements and the degree of the type of cancer.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Lump in the neck: causes , we recommend that you enter our Immune system category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.