When To Worry About Your Bodys Lumps And Bumps
When it comes to lumps and bumps that suddenly appear on your body, the good news is that it is nothing to worry about in most cases.
This is especially true when the lump or bump is soft, moves or changes form when you touch it or apply pressure, or grows larger and more painful when you are physically active and returns to normal when you rest. Despite these reassurances, we at United Hospital Center encourage you to learn more about when a lump or bump warrants medical attention. We highlight the characteristics of three types of potentially concerning body lumps and bumps below.
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How Is Keratoacanthoma Diagnosed
Its possible for your doctor to diagnose KA by looking at it, but because of its strong resemblance to SCC, an invasive type of skin cancer, your doctor may prefer to do a biopsy.
This means your doctor will want to cut out the KA for examination. This process involves numbing the KA with a local anesthetic before removing enough of the lesion to test with a scalpel or razor. The sample is then evaluated to form a diagnosis.
KA will go away on its own, but this can take many months. Your doctor may recommend surgery or medication to remove KA.
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What Causes Gardners Syndrome
The syndrome is a genetic condition, which means its inherited. The adenomatous polyposis coli gene mediates the production of APC protein. The APC protein regulates cell growth by preventing cells from dividing too fast or in a disorderly way. People with Gardners syndrome have a defect in the APC gene. This leads to abnormal tissue growth. What causes the mutation of this gene has not been determined.
Common symptoms of this condition include:
- growths in the colon
- bony tumors on the skull and other bones
- cysts under the skin
The main symptom of Gardners syndrome is multiple growths in the colon. The growths are also known as polyps. Although the number of growths varies, they can be in the hundreds.
In addition to growths on the colon, extra teeth can develop, along with bony tumors on the skull. Another common symptom of Gardners syndrome is cysts, which can form under the skin on various parts of the body. Fibromas and epithelial cysts are common. People with the syndrome also have a much higher risk of colon cancer.
How Is Keratosis Pilaris Treated
Although the condition may remain for years, it gradually improves before age 30 in most cases. Treatment of keratosis pilaris is not medically necessary but, individuals with this condition may want to seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.
The initial treatment of keratosis pilaris should be intensive moisturizing. A cream such as AmLactin or Lac-Hydrin can be applied after bathing, and then re-applied several times a day. Other treatments may include:
- Medicated creams containing urea or alpha-hydroxy acids applied twice daily
- Efforts to unplug pores by taking long, hot soaking tub baths and then rubbing and exfoliating the areas with a coarse washcloth or stiff brush
Learn more about keratosis pilaris.
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What Causes Dermatofibromas
Dermatofibromas are caused by an overgrowth of a mixture of different cell types in the dermis layer of the skin. The reasons why this overgrowth occurs arent known.
The growths often develop after some type of small trauma to the skin, including a puncture from a splinter or bug bite.
In addition to minor skin injuries being a risk for dermatofibroma formation, age is a risk factor. Dermatofibromas occur more commonly in adults who are 20 to 49 years of age.
These benign tumors also tend to be more common in women than men.
Those with a suppressed immune system may be at a higher risk for dermatofibromas to form.
Facial Swelling Or Lump
A lump or swelling on the face that wasn’t caused by an injury is most likely to be one of the following:
- mumps a viral infection that usually affects children and causes swelling of the glands on the side of the face
- an allergic reaction for example to peanuts, which causes swelling in the deeper layers of the skin
- a dental abscess that causes the side of the mouth to swell
- a salivary gland stone this forms when the chemicals in saliva crystallise and block the flow of saliva from a salivary gland near the jaw, causing pain and swelling around the jaw
See your GP for advice if you have a lump or swelling on your face.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Keratoacanthoma
KA is curable and isnt life-threatening. The majority of KA lesions will only cause cosmetic scars at their worst.
However, some may spread to lymph nodes if left untreated. If it spreads, the risks increase significantly with less than a 20 percent 10-year survival rate. If cancer spreads from one location to another, then theres less than a 10 percent chance for a 10-year survival rate.
People who develop KA are at a higher risk for future episodes. If youve had a KA tumor or lesion, schedule regular visits with your doctor so you can quickly identify and treat KA growths at an early stage. The doctor you see can be a dermatologist or a doctor with experience examining the skin for skin cancer and lesions.
If youre concerned about a lesion or unusual mole, make an appointment with your doctor. Similarly, if a spot suddenly changes form, color, or shape, or starts to itch or bleed, ask your doctor to check it.
When Not To Worry
Lumps that are not a cause for concern have some distinctive characteristics.
Not-so-serious lumps usually are:
- Mobile, meaning it moves and changes form when you touch it.
- Located in the superficial or fat layer of skin.
- Grow large and painful with activity, and diminish in size with rest.
Lumps connected to exercise
One major marker is if you can connect the lumps appearance to a specific trauma or activity, says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mesko. Athletes of all levels experience the occasional bump as a result of exercise, training, competition or other physical activity, he adds.
In that case, we recommend you follow the basic RICE method: rest, ice, compression and elevation, Dr. Mesko says. If, over time, the lump or swelling improves, thats a reassuring sign that it is harmless and nothing to worry about.
One of the most common conditions that cause lumps, bumps or swelling are cysts. Some common cysts include Bakers cysts, a fluid-filled bulge that forms behind the knee and ganglion cysts, rounded lumps filled with a jelly-like fluid that can develop on tendons and joints.
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When Should I Be Worried About A Lump Under The Skin
If you are at all concerned about a lump under the skin, dont be afraid to seek medical attention. Certain attributes can lend to a lump being more concerning than others.
A lump that grows and then goes away on its own can usually be attributed to an inflamed cyst, which is normally harmless. A doughy lump is usually associated with a benign lipoma. Likewise, lumps that are harmless can often be accompanied by tenderness, pain, or drainage.
Signs that suggest a lump might be concerning include:
- if it suddenly becomes very hard or feels like a rock under the skin.
- if the lump starts bleeding or becomes a wound.
- if the lump begins growing rapidly.
If a lump is showing any of these symptoms, it should be looked at by a doctor. Likewise, any lumps that are new, growing, or symptomatic should be checked out by a physician.
Skin Lumps: When Parents Should Worry
Noticing a skin lump on a child can be scary. Fortunately, most skin lumps are not a major cause for concern.
April 5, 2017 September 26, 2022
Noticing a skin lump on a child can be scary for parents, and its easy to automatically assume the worst. Fortunately, most skin lumps are benign and not a major cause for concern, according to Dr. Saeed Awan, a pediatric general and thoracic surgeon at CHOC.
Some children are born with skin lumps, and some lumps appear later. The majority of patients with skin lumps will not have any other symptoms, but they can include pain, bleeding, redness, loss of appetite and night sweats. Surgery is often recommended in order to remove these skin lumps, to avoid the risk of infection.
VIDEO: Dr. Mutafa Kabeer, pediatric general and thoracic surgeon at CHOC, explains in why skin lumps occur in children and how they are treated.
Lymph nodes are the most common lumps that parent notice and worry about. Most parents find lymph nodes in the neck area but can also notice them around the ears and at the back of the skull.
A pea-sized, rubbery node beneath the skin is nothing to worry about, says Dr. Awan. Healthy lymph nodes fluctuate in size- they grow and they shrink, but bad lymph nodes keep growing and are not subtle.
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What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Skin Lumps
Lumps under the skin can have many different causes resulting from a variety of different processes. The processes that can form lumps can be benign or malignant .
Benign lumps include:
- Cysts, which can form when an oil-producing gland in the skin becomes clogged.
- Lipomas, a collection of harmless fatty cells.
- Swollen lymph nodes, which can accompany some types of infections.
While potentially uncomfortable, these types of lumps are harmless and are not cancerous.
More rarely, a lump under the skin can indicate cancer. Cancerous lumps under the skin can be harmful and should be attended to by a doctor.
If you are concerned about a lump under your skin, dont hesitate to get it checked out especially since cancer cannot be diagnosed without a doctor.
When Should I Worry About A Lump Under The Skin
Medically Reviewed By: Vinod E. Nambudiri, MD
Finding a lump under your skin can be a worrying discovery but lumps under the skin are more often relatively harmless than cancerous.
To help you better understand when to be concerned about a lump under the skin, we talked to Vinod Nambudiri, MD, of Dana-Farbers Center for Cutaneous Oncology.
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When To See A Medical Professional
Hard lumps are usually harmless, but in rare cases, may be a symptom of a serious condition.
See a medical professional if you notice:
- A lump that is hard, painless, and immovable
- Pain around the lump area
- Rapid enlargement of the lump
- Change in color and shape of the lump
- Pus leaking from the lump
Your doctor may perform a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, which will inform their treatment options.
What Is A Lipoma
A lipoma is a round or oval-shaped lump of tissue that grows just beneath the skin. Its made of fat, moves easily when you touch it and doesnt usually cause pain. Lipomas can appear anywhere on the body, but theyre most common on the back, trunk , arms, shoulders and neck.
Lipomas are benign soft tissue tumors. They grow slowly and are not cancerous. Most lipomas dont need treatment. If a lipoma is bothering you, your healthcare provider can remove it with an outpatient procedure.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Dermatofibromas
Apart from the bumps on the skin, dermatofibromas rarely cause additional symptoms. The growths can range in color from pink to reddish to brown.
They are usually between 7 and 10 millimeters in diameter, although they can be smaller or larger than this range.
Dermatofibromas are also usually firm to the touch. They can also be mildly sensitive to the touch, although most dont cause symptoms.
The growths can occur anywhere on the body but appear more often on exposed areas, such as the legs and arms.
A diagnosis is usually made during a physical exam. A trained dermatologist can usually identify a growth through a visual examination, which may include dermatoscopy.
Typically, dermatofibromas are chronic and dont spontaneously resolve on their own. Because they are harmless, treatment is usually solely for cosmetic reasons.
Treatment options for dermatofibromas include:
What Are The Symptoms Of Keratoacanthoma
The symptoms of KA are visual and lasts two to three months. The look is often compared to a small volcano.
First, KA shows up as small, round bump. Then, it grows into a lesion or wound and reaches a size of between 1 and 2 centimeters within a few weeks. The wound looks like a dome with a plug made of brown keratin, which is the same material as hair and skin.
If the brown keratin comes out, the KA will look like a crater. When it heals, itll flatten and leave a scar.
The exact cause of KA is unknown. Some factors that may contribute to getting KA are:
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Causes Of A Moveable Lump In The Neck
A lump in the neck can be so tiny that you find it only by accident. Some are big enough to feel with your fingers and some grow large enough that you dont have to touch it to know its there.
When you discover a lump, you might have concerns about cancer. Usually, soft moveable lumps arent cancerous, but there are exceptions. A moveable lump means that you can easily move it beneath the skin with your fingertips.
How Are Lipomas Treated
Lipomas are not removed unless there is a cosmetic concern, a compression of surrounding structures, or an uncertain diagnosis. Lipomas generally do not infiltrate into surrounding tissue so they can be removed easily by excision.
There are alternatives to standard excision. One is to manually squeeze the lipoma through a small incision. This technique is useful in areas with thin dermis, such as the face and extremities. Liposuction-assisted lipectomy also can be used to remove large lipomas with minimal scarring. Lipotherapy is another option. In this, a fat dissolving drug called deoxycholic acid is injected directly into the lipoma, leaving no scarring. Learn more about lipomas.
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Lumps On The Armpit Neck Or Groin
Possible causes of lumps on your armpit, neck or groin include:
- swollen glands swelling on the side of the neck, armpit or groin
- hernia a lump in the groin
- goitre a lump on the front of the neck
- genital warts fleshy growths around the groin
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma swelling on the side of the neck, armpit or groin that does not go down
When To See Your Gp
You should see your GP if you develop any growth or swelling on your body. They can examine it and confirm what it is and what’s causing it.
If your GP is uncertain, they may recommend that you have an ultrasound scan or a biopsy. Surgery may be needed to remove certain types of lump.
You should also see your GP urgently if you have a lump that:
- is getting bigger
- grows back after it’s been removed
This is usually the type of lump that needs treatment or investigation due to infection or to rule out cancer.
Can A Lump On Your Head Be Cancer
Many types of cancer, including those that affect the head, can cause lumps to form that can be felt through the skin. While finding a new lump or bump can be alarming, its important to keep in mind that masses can appear on the surface ofor just belowthe skin for many reasons other than cancer. Still, any new lump or thickening should be promptly evaluated by a medical professional who can determine the cause.
What Are The Symptoms Of Neurofibromas
The symptoms of neurofibromas may vary, depending on the locations and the sizes of the tumors. Symptoms can include:
- A painless, slow-growing mass
- Occasional pain
- Electric-like “shock” when the affected area is touched
- Neurological problems if the tumor involves a major motor or sensory nerve or a nerve that is compressed between the tumor and a hard structure
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Signs And Symptoms Of Skin Lumps
Skin lumps can have many different causes, which will impact how they look or feel. However, the following are some signs and symptoms that define a skin bump, says Rebecca Hartman, MD, MPH, a cutaneous oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. :
- A lump that feels soft, mushy, or squishy
- A lump that feels mobile
- A lump thats fixed
- A lump thats firm
- A lump that feels hard
- A lump thats red and inflamed
- A lump thats painful
- A lump that has a central pore
- A lump that looks well-defined under the skin
- A lump that has an irregular contour
- A lump that is growing
In addition, depending on the cause, you could experience accompanying symptoms to the skin lump. For instance, one sign of lymphoma, or cancer of the lymphatic system, is enlarged lymph nodes in your armpits, neck, or groin, along with fever and night sweats, according to the Mayo Clinic.