A bump around the neck: dangerous or not?


A lump around the neck can appear because of various reason. It can be the usual cold or boil or even malignancies. You should not panic but first understand its nature.

swollen lymph nodes on back of neck image credit hudson bernard 2010

What could it be?


Lumps in the neck often cause fears as the neck is too close to the major arteries, spinal cord and brain. But they are not always dangerous because in most cases, malignant formations are rare. However, in any case, it is ideal that you visit a doctor for consultation.

Relatively safe lumps are:

  • Lipoma (fat) – This occurs when fat accumulates in unusual places. This tumour is absolutely safe, but it can be removed for cosmetic purposes.
  • A boil – This is a periaous inflammation of the hair follicle. It is caused by a weak immunity, frequent attack by diseases, lack of vitamins and diabetic infections. The lump grows fast and can causes severe pain. You should immediately go to the hospital if the swelling becomes too large.
  • Fibroma – This is a benign tumour that appears at the site of injuries or scratches where the infection is caused. It almost never degenerates into a malignant formation and it is completely painless and safe.
  • Increased lymph nodes are usually as a result of infectious diseases. Lymphadenitis passes on its own over time. But if you touch the knot you feel pain and feel tight balls in its place and if there is a temperature, see a doctor.

Urgent intervention of specialists require such tumors as:

  • Atheroma is a blockage of the sial gland, usually near the hair follicle. It accumulates fat cells and epithelium and can begin to peddance. Externally, the atheroma can be confused with lipoma, but it is painful and different in colour. Atheromas usually appear in people suffering from seborrha, hyperhidrosis or acne.
  • A neck cyst is a hollow formation filled with liquid. It is dangerous because it can quickly develop a pingal process and a malignant tumour.
  • Neurogenic tumours develop at the end of nerve trunks. They are usually safe, but there are also malignant formations. Treatment includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Lymphogranulomatosis is a malignant enlargement of the lymph nodes. It can go unnoticed for a long time because of the general well-being.
  • Hemodextoma is the growth of cells of blood vessels and nerves. It is very difficult to remove, often during the operation the arteries may have to be completely cut.
  • Oncology of neighbouring organs. This can affect thyroid, throat, larynx and trachea. They usually metastasise once they attack the neck. They are difficult to detect in the initial stages, as the tumour is painless and does not cause discomfort. Only a specialist will be able to perform its diagnosis competently.

Location matters

A lump in the neck can appear anywhere, either on the side, behind, under the hair or near the spine. However, some types of lumps on the neck can easily be identified by where they are located.

If you find a lump in the right or left side of your neck, chances are it is:

  • Lipoma
  • Boil
  • Lymphadenitis

If the lump is behind the neck especially near the spine, it may be a neurogenic tumour or even a malignant formation. An atheroma is the one that commonly effects the back of the hairline. However, it can attack any region of the neck that has hairs.

What will help in the diagnosis?

Malignancies in the first stages do not cause any pain and for this reason one may not go to the doctor immediately.

It is advisable that you go for an MRI scan of the cervical region that contains soft tissues. This will help in determining the size of the formation, its connection to neighbouring tissues and vessels. It will also be easier for he doctor to make a diagnosis.

The specialist you visit is determined by the type of lump. If the lymph nodes are enlarged you can see a therapist who will be able to determine the cause of the disease and prescribe the right treatment. The dermatologist can assist with skin diseases and will advice on cosmetic surgery if you need to remove the lump.

Some diseases such as a neck cyst are often formed close to the origin of infection. It can be a tooth decay, tonsillitis or angina. In such cases you will need to visit a dentist and an otolaryngologist. The endocrinologist will assist if you have thyroid disease. You may be sent to an oncologist if there is suspicion of cancer. The surgeon will come in in case there are tumours to be removed and do not require treatment with medication.

All the doctors will first perform a visual examination. For quality diagnosis you should carry pictures and studies that were done early. However, you may require additional examinations such as repeated MRI scans. The most common ones are ultrasound, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography which will be used to study the formation. Moreover, you may be prescribed for a biopsy which is a tissue sampling for analysis and you will also need subsequent histological examination.

How to cure a lump on the neck?

Almost all lumps can be removed using surgery. But in some cases it may not be necessary. For instance, boils can be treated by decontamination and antimicrobials.

Benign Tumors 732x549 thumbnail 1 732x549 1

You should check with the doctor the nature of the lump. If you have any doubts then you should begin treatment immediately. The main risk is that the benign formations can turn into malignant formations and this means you ought to take tem seriously.

Is it possible to avoid problems?

Unfortunately, not always. The propensity for lipomas and fibroids is inherited, cysts and chemodextoms also do not depend on health and lifestyle. But you can fight the rest of the tumours by doing he following:

  • Lead a healthy lifestyle, give up bad habits as it reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Time to treat skin diseases, be attentive to the injuries.
  • Do not delay a visit to the doctor when the lump is detected so that you can avoid serious complications.

Moreover, it is ideal that you engage in light physical activity and monitor your general health. In case you come across a lump on your neck, you should not worry. Instead go to the doctor for examinations like MRI of the soft tissues of the neck and strictly follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Like it? Share with your friends!


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win
Cornelius Arthur
I am an English language and literature teacher. I have worked in many cities of the world. I am currently producing content at upwork as a freelance. I find and produce the right content by doing good research.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *