Head and Neck Lumps

Lumps in the neck are an extremely common symptom and they are usually benignNot dangerous, usually applied to a tumour that is not malignant. and quite harmless. The majority of neck lumps will be due to enlarged or swollen lymph nodesSmall, rounded organs of the immune system that are distributed along the lymphatic system that filter lymph, a fluid derived from the blood, and produce antibodies and a type of white blood cells, lymphocytes. as a result of upper respiratory tract infections such as pharyngitisInflammation of the pharynx - the medical term for a sore throat and tonsillitisInflammation of the tonsils, lymphatic tissues at the back of the throat, although lumps as a result of of swellings of the thyroid gland (goitreSwelling of the thyroid gland due to inflammation, producing a lump in the neck) are also common. Many of these will not require treatment but surgical removal can be advised for cosmetic reasons or in the case of a more serious disease.

Occasionally, the underlying cause of a neck lump will be head or neck cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. and it is therefore important for any neck lump to be assessed and its cause to be diagnosed as quickly as possible. In these excellent plain English articles, Mr Francis Vaz, Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon, explains how neck lumps are investigated in a modern Rapid Access Neck Lump Clinic, what the various treatment options are and answers whether your neck lump is likely to be benign or something more serious.

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