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Small nodule under arm

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I have had a small nodule under my arm for over a year. Sometimes it is painful. When it becomes tender a mole appears on my upper arm. It is usually mis-shapen, brown with a red ring and gradually disappears again. Thought was all hormonal but happening more regular, usually every 2 or 3 weeks. Went to docs about mole but told that cancerous moles don't appear and then disappear. Recently realised the connection with the tenderness in the arm. Doc says to let them know if nodule underarm grows. Bit concerned.

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replied April 13th, 2010
Cancers Answer A11246
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.

Your doctor is correct in that a malignant mole (i.e., melanoma) cannot recur, disappear, and then recur again in the same place.

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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