A neck lump is a medical condition in which there is a lump in the neck. This lump can be very large and visible, or it can be very small and invisible to the eye.
A neck lump can resemble any regular lump. It can also resemble a swelling in the neck.
There are many factors that can cause a neck lump. The most common lumps are due to swollen lymph nodes. Lumps can also be caused by swollen salivary glands and enlarged thyroid glands.
In children, most neck lumps are caused by treatable infections. To overcome this, immediate treatment is needed to prevent complications or another disease caused by pre-existing diseases.
As you get older, you have higher chances of having a potentially cancerous neck lump. Neck lump occurs more likely to active smokers or alcohol drinkers.
However, not all neck lumps end up becoming cancerous – most cases of neck lumps are not cancer.
Causes of Neck Lump
The most common cause of a neck lump is enlarged lymph nodes. Lymph nodes contain cells that help the body fight infection and attack malignant or cancerous cells.
When a person has a certain disease, the lymph nodes will enlarge and help fight the infection that causes the disease. As a result, a neck lump appears.
The most common causes of enlarged lymph nodes are:
- Ear infection
- Sore throat
- Oral and dental infections
- Bacterial infection of the scalp
- Tonsillitis or inflammation of the tonsils
Apart from the above mentioned diseases, there are also other medical diseases that may potentially cause neck lumps. These diseases tend to be more acute and dangerous, such as:
- Autoimmune symptoms.
When to See a Doctor for Neck Lump?
Examination and diagnosis of the condition of a neck lump will usually be carried out by an ENT specialist (otorhinolaryngologist). This is because neck lumps are related to ear, nose, throat (ENT) problems.
First, the doctor will conduct a medical interview by asking about the symptoms experienced and the medical history of the patient and the patient’s family.
An ENT specialist may perform an additional test through otorino laryngoscopy, which is an examination where the doctor will look at the back of the patient’s throat, voice box, and vocal cords using a laryngoscope. The laryngoscope is a device with a lighting tip.
During the process of laryngoscopic otorino examination, the patient will remain conscious without the influence of anesthesia.
Blood tests may also be prescribed. Blood tests are used to detect the overall health condition of the patient and determine the triggers for the growth of the neck lump.
Symptoms of Neck Lump
Neck lump can be caused by many factors. Therefore, the symptoms that appear also vary, depending on other medical conditions that cause the appearance of the lump.
The most visible symptom is a swelling or lump in the neck. They can range in sizes and shape. In some cases, neck lumps cause no symptoms at all.
If a neck lump is caused by an infection and enlarged lymph nodes, your symptoms may be a sore throat, ear pain, or difficulty swallowing food. If the lump blocks the airway, you may experience symptoms of shortness of breath and difficulty speaking.
Neck lump caused by cancer can usually be indicated through changes in the skin around the neck. You may experience symptoms of phlegm and blood in the saliva.
Treatment for Neck Lump
Treatment of neck lumps depends on the medical condition that caused it. Lumps caused by bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. Meanwhile, lumps caused by cancer and tumors may need further treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Reactive lymph nodes do not require special treatment. If the triggers for the enlarged glands improve, the lymph nodes will return to normal.
However, in certain cases, this condition may need to be treated promptly. It is important for patients to consult a doctor in order to identify the root cause of the neck lump. If the lump is caused by an ear infection, treatment with ear drops may help to improve the condition.
Treatment Cost for Neck Lump
The cost for neck lump treatment varies, depending on the triggers for the neck lump.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of neck lump treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Neck Lump
There are varying prevention and treatment methods for neck lumps. The most fundamental step you should take is to first identify the trigger factors. There are many types of medical conditions and disorders that can cause neck lumps.
Broadly speaking, prevention of neck lumps can be done by maintaining your overall health. Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the preventive measures that you can take to prevent any kinds of diseases, including neck lumps. Start by exercising regularly and eating healthy food. Stress management and quitting smoking can also be effective neck lump prevention.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Neck Lump
In general, home remedies for neck lump can be undertaken by adhering to the doctor’s recommendations as closely as possible. If the doctor has determined that the neck lump is caused by infection and bacteria, then you should take medications or antibiotics as prescribed.
If the neck lump is caused by a more complex disease such as autoimmune disease or cancer, it is recommended that you get treatment as recommended by your doctor and maintain a healthy lifestyle.