Neck Lumps: symptoms, diagnosis, Treat and outlook

What could be the cause of lumps on my neck ?


Neck lumps

A neck lump is also called a neck mass. Neck lumps or masses can be large and visible, or they can be very small. Most neck lumps aren’t harmful. Most are also benign, or noncancerous. But a neck lump can also be a sign of a serious condition, such as an infection or a cancerous growth.
If you have a neck lump, your healthcare provider should evaluate it promptly. See your healthcare provider right away if you have an unexplained neck mass.
From our previous post on  lymph nodes, you will get full understanding of lymp nodes and area it could be find in the neck region. kindly read full Article on the lymp nodes and it neck locations.
>>Also read:  LYMPH NODES

Cause of neck lumps, with pictures

Many conditions can cause neck lumps. Here is a list of  possible causes.
Please,take note of the following graphic images on this post, once you noticed of them kindly visit your Doctors for medical  care.

A. Infectious mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, also called “mono,” is a contagious disease, one of the causes of lumps. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the most common cause of infectious mononucleosis, but other viruses can also cause this disease. It is common among teenagers and young adults, especially college students. At least one out of four teenagers and young adults who get infected with EBV will develop infectious mononucleosis.

Symptoms of Infectious mononucleosis

Typical symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually appear four to six weeks after you get infected with EBV. Symptoms may develop slowly and may not all occur at the same time. Read the full details of  infectious mononucleosis
B. Branchial cleft cyst
Branchial cleft cysts are congenital anomalies arising from the first through fourth pharyngeal
clefts. The most common type of branchial cleft cyst arises from the second cleft, with anomalies derived from the first, third, and fourth clefts being rarer.
As this is a congenital anomaly it is present at birth, though may not be obvious or symptomatic until later. The majority of lesions present in childhood as a visible punctum on the skin, though may present as cysts or neck masses, occasionally being mistaken for neck abscesses. Branchial cleft anomalies present in one of three forms: cysts, sinuses or fistulae.


Cysts have an epithelial lining without external openings, and as such may be asymptomatic and only noticed incidentally. Such cysts may not present until adulthood. Sinus tracts may communicate either externally with skin as a visible punctum, or internally with the pharynx or larynx, where the punctate opening will be visible only on endoscopy.

Branchial cleft fistulae are true communications connecting the pharynx or larynx with the external skin  Read the full Article on Branchial cleft cyst 

 C. Goitre

A goitre (sometimes spelled “goiter”) is a swelling of the thyroid gland that causes a lump in the front of the neck. The lump will move up and down when you swallow.
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just in front of the windpipe (trachea).
It produces thyroid hormones, which help regulate the body’s metabolism, the chemical processes that occur in the body.

Symptoms of a goitre
The size of a goitre can vary from person to person. In most cases, the swelling is small and does not cause any symptoms.
In more severe cases, symptoms may include:

  1. coughing
  2. a tight feeling in your throat
  3. changes to your voice, such as hoarseness
  4. difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  5. difficulty breathing – there may be a high-pitched sound when you breathe

D. Tonsillitis

Tonsil stones is a condition similar to tonsillitis but instead of seeing white puss appear on the tonsils, you’ll see little collections that look similar to stones (which is where they get their name).
They appear as a white or yellowish hard mass, ranging in size from very small to very large. The largest recorded tonsillolith, at 14.5 centimeters (cm) was recorded in 1936.

Causes of Tonsil Stones


Bacteria is the primary cause of tonsil stones. Unfortunately, bacteria build-up can result from day to day eating. Because the food that you eat has to move past the tonsils on the way down your throat, it can cause significant bacteria to build up over time. Read full Article on Tonsillitis

E. Actinic keratoses

It also known as Solar keratosis, Actinic keratoses (AKs) are premalignant neoplasm of the epidermis caused by excessive exposure to sunlight and manifesting as an ill-marginated, erythematous, scaling, rough papule or patch that form on sun exposed areas of the skin, including the scalp, face, forearms, and back of the hands.

Actinic keratoses are usually scaly, feel like sandpaper to the touch, and range in color from skin-toned to reddish-brown ” AK are more easily felt than seen, as their overlying scale is thick and firmly adherent”. Actinic keratoses may be as small as the head of a pin or as large as a quarter (or bigger, if left untreated).
Origin of the lumps

Where neck lumps come from

A lump in the neck can be hard or soft, tender or non-tender. Lumps can be located in or under the skin, as in a sebaceous cyst, cystic acne, or lipoma. A lipoma is a benign fatty growth. A lump may also come from tissues and organs within your neck.

Where the lump originates plays an important role in determining what it is. Because there are many muscles, tissues, and organs near the neck, there are many places neck lumps can originate, including:

  1. the lymph nodes  or check on this Article
  2. the thyroid gland
  3. parathyroid glands, which are four small glands located behind the thyroid gland
  4. recurrent laryngeal nerves, which enable movement of the vocal cords
  5. neck muscles

Symptoms associated with a neck lump

Because a neck lump can be caused by such a variety of conditions and diseases, there can be many other related symptoms. Some people will have no symptoms. Others will have some symptoms related to the condition that’s causing the neck lump.

If your neck lump is caused by an infection and your lymph nodes are enlarged, you might also have a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or pain in the ear. If your neck lump is blocking your airway, you might also have trouble breathing or sound hoarse when you speak.

Sometimes people with neck lumps that are caused by cancer have skin changes around the area. They may also have blood or phlegm in their saliva.

Diagnosing a neck lump

Your diagnosis will be based on your symptoms, history, and the results of the physical exam. In some cases, your healthcare provider may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for a detailed evaluation of those body parts as well as your sinuses.

The ENT specialist may perform an oto-rhino-laryngoscopy. During this procedure, they’ll use a lighted instrument to see areas of your ears, nose, and throat that aren’t otherwise visible. This evaluation doesn’t require general anesthesia, so you’ll be awake during the procedure.

Your healthcare provider and any specialist may run a variety of tests to determine the cause of your neck lump. A complete blood count (CBC) can be performed to evaluate your overall general health and provide insight into a number of possible conditions. For instance, your white blood cell (WBC) count may be high if you have an infection.

Other possible tests include:

  1. sinus X-rays
  2. chest X-ray, which allows your healthcare provider to see if there’s a problem in your lungs, trachea, or chest lymph nodes
  3. ultrasound of the neck, which is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to evaluate neck lumps
  4. MRI of the head and neck, which makes detailed images of the structures in your head and neck

How to treat a neck lump

The type of treatment for a neck lump depends on the underlying cause. Lumps caused by bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Treatment options for cancer of the head and neck include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Early detection is the key to successful treatment of the underlying cause of a neck lump. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, most cancers of the head and neck can be cured with few side effects if they’re detected early.


Neck lumps can happen to anyone, and they’re not always signs of a serious health issue. However, if you have a neck lump, it’s important to see your healthcare provider to be sure. Like all illnesses, it’s better to get a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible, especially if your neck lump does turn out to be caused by something serious.



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