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Painful lump under right armpit

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I have a lump under my right armpit that has been appearing on and off for three months. It is becoming increasingly painful and I am finding it difficult to use that arm when it is inflamed. When it first occurred my doctor put me on antibiotics for 10 days which helped, but it keeps coming back. I am a 41 year old survivor of accute lymphomic leukemia, which I had at age 8. I was considered cured by age 10. I am concerned that this may be cancer even though my doctor does not appear concerned. Can you help?

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replied September 7th, 2010
Cancers Answer A15989
Armpit lumps are rather common, especially in women. In most cases, these lumps are caused by infected hair follicles, inflamed skin cysts, benign overgrowths of fatty tissue (lipomas), or inflamed "reactive" benign lymph nodes. Less commonly, enlarged lymph nodes caused by cancer (including breast cancer or lymphoma) may result in armpit (axillary) lumps.

It is unlikely that armpit lumps that "come and go" are related to lymphoma or leukemia. However, since it is not possible for me to examine patients who post questions on eHealth Forum, my advice is always that patients with new or enlarging axillary lumps visit with their doctor for an examination.

Sincerely/ Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

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