A neck mass or lump has many causes. Most are benign, but in some cases, it can signal a serious condition — including cancer. As such, any mass in the neck area should be promptly evaluated by an experienced ENT.
What are Neck Masses?
At SFENTA, we’ve found that the vast majority of neck masses and lumps are not due to malignancy or another serious condition — they are mostly enlarged lymph nodes. When you’re sick or fighting an infection, these nodes swell to protect your body and attack harmful cells.
Upon finding a lump or mass, many people immediately fear cancer. Although a neck lump can be cancerous, most are fortunately benign.
With that said, as adults age the chances of a lump being cancerous increase. Your risk further increases of this risk with a history of prolonged tobacco and alcohol use, HPV infection, and other lifestyle choices.
Cancers that can show up as a lump in the neck include:
- Head and neck cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
- Throat cancer
- Breast cancer