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Sebaceous Cyst on scalp
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Sebaceous Cyst on scalp

I am a 42 year old female who recently went for her physical and posted a question on here regarding breast cancer relating to thyroid cancer.  This is NOT my question.  Since I am now taking such an active part in my health (hopefully NOT too late), my question is this.  Approximately ten years ago I was diagnosed with a sebaceous cyst on my scalp.  I didnt give it much though since I trusted my doctor.  Over the past several years, I find it is getting larger and it does NOT seem to be mobile, which Im told sebaceous  cysts are.  Could this be cancer After all of these years?  I cant get an apt. with my dermatologist for two weeks so I thought that maybe til than someone can put my mind at ease.  Thank you in advance.
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Hello - thanks for asking your question.

Without seeing the lesion, I cannot comment on whether it is cancer or not.

Sebaceous cysts most often arise from swollen hair follicles. Skin trauma can also induce a cyst to form. A sac of cells is created into which a protein called keratin is secreted.

These cysts are usually found on the face, neck, and trunk. They are usually slow- growing, painless, freely movable lumps beneath the skin. Occasionally, however, a cyst will become inflamed and tender.  They can be surgically removed or smaller ones injected with steroids.  

You are correct in that most sebaceous cysts are mobile.  Cancer is always a possibility.  If there is any concern for this I would definitely follow-up with your dermatologist for a possible biopsy.  It should be ok to wait 2 weeks for a dermatology appointment.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
19 Comments
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Highly unlikely to be anything but a cyst; sebaceous cysts actually come from oil glands, not hair follicles. And if they are large enough and the skin is tight enough, they may not be all that mobile. But the only way to find out is to have it looked at again, as you are doing. Whatever it is, two weeks won't be significant.
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They you both for your responses.  Just wanted to let you know my dermatologist did see me this afternoon, he looked at the lump on my head, put a needle into it with some sort of steroid treatment to make the inflamation (inflammation) go down and then recommended I have it surgically removed.  He said he feels that it is a Benign Cyst.  While I was there I had a mole removed from just above my knee.  I had it removed it the exact same place as last year, but when it was biopsied it came back NOT as melanoma but was considered pre-cancerous.  He removed it to have another biopsy done.  Im not going to panic, true it came back, however, I did have it removed again, its not like I waited years.  Im keeping my fingers crossed that it is not serious.  Thank you Both again for your quick responses.  This is a great forum, it made me feel more comfortable talking to you before going to the doctor.  Keep up the good work.  :)
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Just wanted to let you know that I had the cyst removed, received my pathology report today, it was a Benign Sebaceous Cyst.  Thank you so much for this forum, I cant tell you how much I appreciated knowing I had someone to talk to at a time I really needed it.  Keep up the good work.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a Sebaceous cyst that is about the size of a half dollar.  Since mine has grown it has caused me alot of pain.  I have seen my MD and waiting to see the surgeon.  But I am curious....do they have to shave any hair??  Or can they get by with just cutting??  I am really nervous... mine is up front.  Actually, have two smaller ones in the same area.  I just don't want to be bald.  Thanks.........Linda
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Linda, they did have to shave my hair in the area where my cyst was, but thats all.  Already was hair has started growing back.  Honestly it was no big deal.  After it was removed, and stitched up, it hurt for several days but thats it.  It will be a little sensitive in that area for a couple of weeks, but other than that, NO PROBLEMS.  Good luck to you... Im sure all will work out fine.  Lemme know how it turns out.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am having one removed today on my scalp.  I am so very glad that this was posted as my doctor did not explain what the procedures are or would be.  I have had mine for a few years and I am hoping that it is nothing serious.

Thanks for all of the input.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a sebatious cyst on my scalp since I was a little girl.  Through the years it slowly grew larger and larger and I had it removed when it got to the size of a large walnut.

I wish I'd ever had it taken out.  While it was getting so large that it made me uncomfortable when I tried to rest my head on firm surfaces, it had never been infected and never caused me any real PAIN.

Since I had it removed two years ago I've had nothing but PROBLEMS.  The surgery was traumatic in that I was awake and the cyst didn't want to leave me.  The surgeon Yanked and Yanked on it and finally, after pulling VERY hard got it out..but I felt all the nerves to my forhead being ripped out when he did it.  After surgery I had no feeling in the entire back of my head for a year...and even now I still have areas that have no feeling because of the nerve loss.

In addition to the nerve loss, he didn't get it all and within 4 weeks I had another small lump forming..the lump got infected and I've had horrendus infections about every 3 months like clockwork.  I also get eruptions of puss pockets all over my neck and face thta I think are related to breaking this cyst up..it seems to have allowed what was once confined to a small area to spread ...

The surgeon used a different term for my syst, something to do with how large it was...I can't remember the term..something like Wending ...

I don't recommend having one of these removed unless it's REALLY causing you a lot of discomfort or repeatedly gets infected!
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16 days ago i had a cyst removed from my scalp, left side of the back of the head, about one inch from my ear. Since then, I have been experiencing scalp pain and numbness about 2 inches above the incision area. The pain isn't like any I have had before. I cannot touch the area without it causing pain, and also it is painful sometimes when it is not being touched. I can't lay my head on a pillow or against anything.It hurts to comb also.I have a follow-up with my MD later this week but am curious if you have heard of this problem after a scalp cyst removal.
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Avatar_n_tn
About 2 year ago I felt a hard bump on the the front left side of my head and went to the dermatologist to check it out. She told me it was a benign cyst and that I shouldn't worry.
Recently my father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor and since then I've been paranoid about the cyst.
It doesn't hurt or cause me problems, it just bothers me that it is there and now I'm worried if it is cancerous.
What should I do?
I've been reading from some of you that surgery make it worst- any advice would really help!
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Avatar_n_tn
About 2 year ago I felt a hard bump on the the front left side of my head and went to the dermatologist to check it out. She told me it was a benign cyst and that I shouldn't worry. It doesn't hurt or cause problems.
Recently my father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor and since then I've been paranoid about the cyst.
What should I do?
I've been reading from some of you that surgery make it worst- any advice would really help!
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Avatar_n_tn
About 2 year ago I felt a hard bump on the the front left side of my head and went to the dermatologist to check it out. She told me it was a benign cyst and that I shouldn't worry. It doesn't hurt or cause problems.
Recently my father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor and since then I've been paranoid about the cyst.
What should I do?
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Avatar_n_tn
About 2 year ago I felt a hard bump on the the front left side of my head and went to the dermatologist to check it out. She told me it was a benign cyst and that I shouldn't worry.
Recently my father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor and since then I've been paranoid about the cyst.
It doesn't hurt or cause me problems, it just bothers me that it is there and now I'm worried if it is cancerous.
What should I do?
I've been reading from some of you that surgery make it worst- any advice would really help!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have something that sounds alot like what you mentioned you were worried about after your fil's brain tumor. I have a peanut-sized pinkish colored place on my head, looks alot like a wart, and it is located on the top right side of my head about 2 inches above & in front of my ear. It has been there for a while now(probaly close to 10 years) and just recently I've begun to notice it more and more. Maybe it's getting bigger? I don't know.

Anyway, I've done alot of reading about cysts on the scalp(I'm not dr, just a big reader) and from all I can gather this is just a cyst and most likely is benign. I have a dr's appt. next week for something unrelated, but am going to ask the dr to look at it and to refer me to a dermatologist so they can make sure it's not anything to be worried about.

Is this kind of what you're talking about? I worry about a brain tumor too, although nothing I read suggested that this should be any real concern. I just think, head problems=brain problems, ya know?

Anyway, hope this helped.

Miranda
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I have a cyst on the front right side of my scalp. I have had this for about 15 years. It has gotten bigger over the years and is starting to bother me. It gets very sore and itchy. I hit it with the comb or brush every time I do my hair. Even my hair dresser has noticed that it has gotten bigger.I am having it removed tomorrow morning. Although I am a bit nerverous I will be glad to have this pain in the head gone.I will let you all know how this turns out. Wish me Luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I have a cyst on the front right side of my scalp. I have had this for about 15 years. It has gotten bigger over the years and is starting to bother me. It gets very sore and itchy. I hit it with the comb or brush every time I do my hair. Even my hair dresser has noticed that it has gotten bigger.I am having it removed tomorrow morning. Although I am a bit nerverous I will be glad to have this pain in the head gone.I will let you all know how this turns out. Wish me Luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi All,

I am planning to go for this surgery in the next 15 days. My cyst is on the scalp and is the size of 3 cms round, I donnot have any problems with it. only as a precautionary measure I am planning to remove it.

My doctor is a Neurologist and I have done a CT-Scan just to check out whther it is anyway connected to brain.
Doctor's diagonosis say that is a sabaciuos cyst and better to remove it completely with a minor operation. Although it can be done by a physician, but I do not want to take any risk so I am shelling out more for this operation by getting it done by a Surgeon Neurologist.

It will take a day's stay at the hospital. I am from India and would be doing this operation in the Wokhardt Brain and Spinal cord hospital Mumbai.

Kindly let me know whether I need to go in for anymore test.  Also let me know what kind of a surgery this would be.

I just wanted feedback from DeeBeeMarie and Sparkergirl about there operation
What was the duration of the sugery, who did it(qualification and specialization of the doctors) and where.

Thanks in advance.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
My questions are about Sebaceous Cyst.
Since I can remember I had them. I know my father had/has them, his mother and most of his brothers and sisters. None of my brothers and sisters has any, but they look more like my mom's family. I got the genes of my father's family. Anyway.
My first question;
Is it genetic? Because it looks like it is in my family.

Another thing. I had one removed when I was younger and my mom discover it while brushing my hair. She noticed only one on my scalp and I did not tell her about the second that she had missed. It was on the top of my head and it's still there. I knew they had to shave my hair and I was scared that kids at school would laugh at me. Anyway...It was it late 80's and doctor in Poland did not check nor cared if I had something else. I don't remember much now, but since then nothing came back in the same place. Since then in last couple of years I discovered two more. That makes three now. I read a lot about it and I'm pretty scared. There are some horror stories out there, like:

("The surgery was traumatic in that I was awake and the cyst didn't want to leave me. The surgeon Yanked and Yanked on it and finally, after pulling VERY hard got it out but I felt all the nerves to my forehead being ripped out when he did it. After surgery I had no feeling in the entire back of my head for a year...and even now I still have areas that have no feeling because of the nerve loss. In addition to the nerve loss, he didn't get it all and within 4 weeks I had another small lump forming the lump got infected and I've had horrendous infections about every 3 months like clockwork. I also get eruptions of puss pockets all over my neck and face that I think are related to breaking this cyst up. It seems to have allowed what was once confined to a small area to spread...")
AFTER READING THAT I ALMOS CRIED!!! HOW OFTEN DOES IT HAPPEN???

The one cyst on the top of my hair makes me very uncomfortable to the point that I don't go to the hair salon anymore. I want to have it removed but I have couple problems with that.
1st: I have a wedding to go to in three months and I'm afraid that they will shave so much hair that I will look hideous. Should I wait till after the wedding to go?
2nd: I do not have health insurance. Does anyone know the average price of a surgery like that?
3rd: I am panicky and scared of pain and shots!!! Does it hurt a lot? Please be honest!!!
4th: What are the chances that the doctor will not clean this correctly and it will get worse? What doctor should I go to? Like I said NO INSURANCE-NOT SO MUCH MONEY!
Thank you for ANY IFORMATION on this subject.
P.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I am wondering about my sebaceous cyst as well.  It's buried under a lot of hair on my scalp.   I am concerned about a few things.  First of all, I want to know exactly how serious this is.  It doesn't hurt now, but I don't want it to continue to grow so that it will start causing me pain.  I can't see it, I can only feel it, but my mother has looked at it, and made me go see a doctor.  I have known about this for months, maybe even a year, but I didn't know what it was and just thought it would go away.  I am wondering if I need surgery for this.  If I do, I am nervous because I have slight paranoia about going through serious pain and infection during and post- surgery.  Also, do they have to shave a lot of my hair?  My bat mitzvah is in a few weeks and I would like to have all of my hair on my head.  But the cyst is starting to annoy me a little and may grow to hurt.  Please tell me, someone, how much it hurts and how much hair I would have to lose.

Thank you    
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had Sebaceous Cysts on my scalp since I was a teenager.  Every 6 months or so, I go into my family physician and he makes a tiny incision w/ a scalpal after numbing the spots.  He usually gets a sac (hard formed) that is off white in color and shaped like a kidney bean.  They all have tested back from pathology as nothing and I keep getting them cut out.  My doctor does not have to shave the spot that he cuts, he usually puts two stitches in each one and then in 7-10 days I have him pull the stitches out.  Very simple.  

I have often wondered why I get them and no one else in my family?  Can I prevent them?  Tried to dig one out on my own one time... BAD IDEA!!!!
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