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Avatar universal

Lump on side of neck

I have a small lump on my neck, it is on the right side about halfway up. It is quite small, probably not much bigger than a pea and it feels like it is located on the neck muscle (of course I suppose it could be behind it and pushing the muscle, I am not qualified to say but I don’t think so).  I have played sport before and it feels to me exactly like the kind of scar tissue you can get after a pulled muscle.  

I have over recent years ‘ricked’ my neck more than once which could point to it being scar tissue however I honestly cannot remember what side I did this on.  I have also lost some weight recently (2-3 stone which planned so it was not unexpected) so it is possible this has been there for years but has been covered in ‘padding’ and not as easy to feel.    I went to the doctors with it about 6 weeks ago and they were not concerned however whilst I am maybe being unfair the doctor was a newly qualified one and did not fill me with total confidence, nethertheless I took the advice and other than make a note to keep an eye on it have not given it another thought until the last day or 2.  I felt it again, I do not think it has changed in size but it is definitely there and after a few minutes of prodding it I noticed later that the my right ear and right gland area around my throat felt a little sore, nothing major but probably no coincidence and I wondered if it had been irritated by me poking around?

So it is worrying me again, I have recently moved house and have just registered with a new GP but it will be a week to 10 days before I can see a doctor.

Advice appreciated.
30 Responses
Avatar universal
The sore throat turned into an ear ache as the day went on, so maybe I was coming down with something and that is why I felt it again?  

Who knows? still worried and hoping to get a doctors appointment ASAP.
907672 tn?1381029323
Most doctors don't get too concerned over a small lump unless there are other sympoms you are experiencing that would indicate something more serious.  Pain is not usually associated with malignant lumps and your earache makes me think you maybe are fighting an infection, which can make your lymph nodes swell.  

Keep an eye on it and if it's still there by the time you go see your new GP, you might show it to them.  Sometimes swollen nodes from previous infections can stay swollen and never completely go away.  
Avatar universal
Thank you.

The ear ache has got worse so I guess I was coming down with something.

My old GP agreed to me see a (different) doctor 1 last time so I went in today.  He said it was not a gland and was not concerned, he said that if I was still worried that he refer me for an ultrasound to put my mind at rest,
Avatar universal
I have decided to have the ultrasound to put my mind at rest.  It is bothering, probably irrationally but it is nonetheless.

I had lost 3 stone at the point of the first doctors visit and another stone on top of that for the visit this week  (I have gone from 15.5 stone to 11.5 stone and am finished now I think), so as I said maybe it is has been there a long time and is just a far more obvious now I am thinner.

Both doctors said it was not a lymph node which is positive but there is still a lump and I guess any unexplained lump is a worry.  No other symptoms though.

Thanks again
907672 tn?1381029323
You are very welcome.  I'm not sure what the conversion of stones to pounds is, but I can tell you that weight loss due to cancer is usually pretty significant (10% or more in a 6 month time period).  If you experience that, or persistant fevers or night sweats, than you should definately see your doctor again (and especially if your lump doesn't go away).  

I hope the ultrasound can give you more answers and help put your mind at ease.
Avatar universal
Thanks, the weight loss was deliberate, I totally changed my diet and started exercising 4-5 times a week.

I guess I would not still be worried if my doctor said 'I'm not concerned because its just a X,Y or Z' but they gave no explanation as to what they thought it was and just said they were not worried.  I suppose I am thinking that they don't really know but as it is small are not worried YET.

Thanks again.
907672 tn?1381029323
Congratulations on the weight loss...that's great.  

Most likely, if the lump is due to some kind of infection, it will go down on it's own (although not always).  If it doesn't go away on it's own in a few weeks then you might want to see your doctor again (or go see a different doctor).  Although, I'm sure the ultrasound will help shed some light as to what it is.  
Avatar universal

The one thing both doctors were pretty sure on is that it is not a lymph node, they could of course be wrong.  I would have just been happier if they had offered an explanation as to what they thought it might be.  Given that they both were not concerned I should not be worrying still and yet I am.

It feels to me like a knot on the muscle but what do I know?  I just hope that ultrasound appointment does not take weeks or months to come through.

Thanks again
Avatar universal

It seems I was right to question my other doctors, yesterday I had my first consult at my new GP surgery and after a far more thorough examination he had a different view to my last GP.  He examined my neck and all of my lymph nodes and said that it WAS an enlarged lymph node.  Of course he could be wrong but I’d be inclined to believe him over the other doctorS.

He said it was just one node that was enlarged and that he was confident it was nothing serious as it was just the one vs several clustered together and also that I have had no other symptoms such as night sweats etc, as it has probably been up for 6 weeks he said he’d need the ultrasound and maybe blood tests to be 100% sure but told me not to lose any sleep as he was pretty sure it was ok.  I don’t know if that was his bedside manner to try and stop me worrying for the next 6-8 weeks but he did seem unconcerned and his views seems consistent with the interweb (I should not have googled it I know but I could not help it)

As I did not even look for the lump in the intervening 6 weeks for all I know it could have gone down and come back up (I did catch a bug off my daughter a couple of weeks ago around the time I noticed it again) but I have to assume it has been there the whole time or maybe even longer.  Me being me as there are tests to be done I am still a little worried but I do feel a little better but do wish I could get the tests rushed through quicker.
1081992 tn?1389907237
Hi, Neil. When you say "neck muscle" do you mean the sternocleidomastoid?

At this point you have a bump but without a scan it can't be known what it is. So the way to logically proceed is going by the probabilities. The odds are very low that it is any type of cancer. It is just a matter of statistics.

Of all the possibilities (primary cancer, metastasized cancer, lymphoma, lipoma, cyst, salivary gland, fibrotic lymph node), my guess is that you had a good intuition about it from the beginning: it's a fibrotic (aka scarred) lymph node.

One job of a lymph node is to serve as a base where certain immune cells (lymphocytes) multiply to fight an infection. It's like a military base that grows in wartime. After the battle against infection is won, the node usually goes back down to its original size. But sometimes the battle takes place right inside a node. The damage left after the battle is fibrosis, aka scarring.  (More precisely, scarring is the body's way of overlaying the damaged area with connective tissue.)

Now, the other possibility, as you have rightly raised, is that the node was up those weeks ago, went down since but is back up again. The term "reactive" is used for that normal swelling as a node does its job. A reactive node is typically softer than a fibrotic node. In support of the node being reactive is that you had that earache.

It's also possible that the node (if it is a node) is both scarred and also sometimes reactive. That's my guess at this point.

Do you have a cat?
Avatar universal
Thank you for the reply, much appreciated.  That is what the doctor said was that it is/has been reacting to something.

I do not have a cat, however I have had cats for the last 10 years until May.
Avatar universal
Sorry, and yes I do mean the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
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