Lump in Neck

Question

There is a lump in my neck that is protruding out. It is hard and is not very big. Maybe the size of a pea. When I try to touch it, it does not move. It is hard, and I think is attached to the skin or bone. It is in front of the neck, just near the Adam’s apple. Can this be a serious issue? I am a little worried as most often lumps and bumps are associated with cancer. I am 16 years old, and I really am not ready for this sort of thing. What can I do about this lump in neck?

Answer

It can be a Thyroglossal Duct Cyst

A lump in the neck does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. There are several reasons for a hard lump on neck. One of these is a thyroglossal duct cyst. This is a cyst that forms in the base of the thyroid gland. Although these cysts make themselves known early in life, they can also occur during adolescence. This cyst is located in the middle of the neck and can be soft to the touch. As your lump in the neck is hard, this may not be due to thyroglossal duct cyst. However, if you are diagnosed with thyroglossal duct cyst, you need to worry about infection. Bacteria from the mouth can cause the thyroglossal duct cyst to become infected which can be painful and may require treatment. Most often, thyroglossal duct cysts can be removed through surgery.

It can be a Dermoid Cyst

The Dermoid cyst is also a sac like growth that is present at birth. Dermoid cysts contain structures of hair, teeth, fluid, or skin glands which are trapped during the development of the fetus. A hard, bump on neck under skin is usually caused by a dermoid cyst. Dermoid cysts can occur anywhere in the body including the brain. They can also occur in the nasal sinuses although this is rare. Most often, dermoid cysts are removed through a complicated surgical procedure. You may need to seek medical care if you feel pain, if the cyst changes colour and grows larger, becomes inflamed or if it is in an area that is quite visible.

It can be Lipoma

A hard lump in neck can also be due to fatty tissue storage. This is referred to as lipoma. It is a benign tumor in a fibrous capsule close to the skin. Lipomas usually develop in the neck, torso, thighs and armpits and are most often mistaken for cancerous tumors. However, lipomas are the most common non cancerous tumors that develop in the body. The cause of lipomas is not known. Treatment may not be required, although if it is in an uncomfortable area in the body surgical removal may be necessary.

It can be Thyroid Cancer

Although thyroid cancer is an uncommon cancer, we cannot rule this out. This is caused by the growth of abnormal cells in the thyroid gland. However, although it is rare it is the most commonly detected cancer. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include a hard lump on neck, pain in neck, as well as, wheezing and persistent cough. A biopsy will have to be done if the doctor suspects thyroid cancer. If it is, in fact, thyroid cancer, treatment options such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment will help stop or slow down the spread of cancer.

A lump in neck, no matter how small should always be properly diagnosed by a doctor. This will help you rule out any serious medical conditions. Therefore, if you notice a bump on neck under skin, consider getting medical advice as soon as possible. Although most of the causes are quite harmless or easily treatable, having a medical opinion is the best course of action that can be recommended for your situation.