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Hard bump on side of neck

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Hi Doctor, I am a 22 year old female and for the last 5 years or so I have noticed a small hard bump under the skin on the right side of the back of my neck right under the hairline, near middle of neck. It has always caused me some discomfort and bothers the right side of my neck a lot. Sometimes I get sharp pains and twinges around the area and also shooting up into my head. I(and others)have always just waved it away as stress or muscle tension though. Recently, it has been bothering me even more and my lymph nodes mainly in the back of neck, but also around ears(ears have been aching off and on)and under chin and sometimes in my armpits have been swelling a little and bothering me, and my neck has been pretty sore. Could this be something like Lymphoma or some form of cancer? I haven't been nauseous at all, I've just felt like I've been fighting off a cold- off and on sore throat, stuffy nose,flemm in throat. I also get really tired off and on during day now. Any ideas? Thank You!

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replied September 11th, 2009
Lymphoma Answer A7234
In most cases, enlarged and tender lymph nodes are the result of the body's natural immune response to infection or inflammation. Over time, as the source of infection resolves, these "reactive" lymph nodes should gradually become less painful, and should decrease in size. Lymphoma, on the other hand, involves a progressive and generally painless enlargement of multiple lymph nodes, as the affected lymph nodes accumulate large numbers of malignant lymphoma cells (there are also other chronic non-malignant diseases that can cause enlargement of the lymph nodes, as well). In addition to enlarged lymph nodes, the neck and scalp are common sites for various types of benign solid and cystic lesions. For example, epidermal inclusion cysts (sebaceous cysts) can become inflamed, resulting in a red and tender mass which can sometimes drain purulent material (pus).

Of course, it is not possible to make a specific diagnosis for a patient over the Internet, so you should see your personal physician for a check-up to ensure that all is well.

Sincerely/ Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS


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