Neck lumps

Lumps in the neck are common, but they may be the first sign of a more serious condition, so it’s important to have any lump investigated. There are three main types of neck lump: cancers, benign (non-cancerous) masses and infectious lumps.

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Types of neck lumps

A cancerous neck lump usually occurs when cancer has spread from another location, such as the skin on the face or scalp, mouth, throat, voice box (larynx) or thyroid gland. Some signs that suggest a neck lump may be cancerous include it being very firm, immobile, and slowly growing.

A benign (non-cancerous) neck lump can include cysts, lipoma, goitres (swelling of the thyroid gland), vascular and lymphatic masses, pharyngeal pouch, branchial cyst and others. There are many causes of benign neck lumps, and they can be serious if they affect nerves or exert pressure in the head and neck region.

An infectious neck lump is typically due to an inflamed lymph node following infection in the head and neck region. Some viruses, such as glandular fever and mumps, can cause this type of persisting neck lump.

How are neck lumps treated?

Treatment for a neck lump will depend on its cause. Some neck lumps, such as goitres or infected lymph nodes, may be treated with medicine. Others, including cancerous tumours and lipomas, will require surgery.

Dr Ch’ng can provide a comprehensive assessment of any neck lump to confirm its cause.

The assessment by Dr Ch’ng may include a thorough examination of the neck, scalp, face, nose and mouth. An endoscopy, or other imaging techniques, such as CT, MRI, PET or ultrasound scans may be ordered to help with this assessment. A biopsy may also be arranged to determine if a neck lump is cancerous or not.

Get in touch

If you’d like to know more about our head and neck, plastic or skin cancer surgical services, or if you have a question for Dr Ch’ng, we’d love to hear from you.

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