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Common reasons for a lump in the neck

  • Swollen lymph nodes due to infection
  • Viruses, like HIV, herpes, rubella, mono and pharyngitis
  • Thyroid disorders and diseases
  • Bacterial infection, like strep throat, tonsillitis and tuberculosis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Certain cancers
  • Injury

More rarely, your neck lump can be a sign of an allergic reaction or a salivary duct stone.

Quick fact

At SFENTA, we have found that the vast majority of neck masses and lumps are not due to malignancy or another serious condition – they are enlarged lymph nodes. When you are sick or fighting an infection, these nodes swell to protect your body and attack harmful cells.

Found a lump - Is it cancer?

Upon finding a lump or mass, many people immediately fear cancer. Although it is possible for a neck lump to be cancerous, fortunately, most are benign.

With that said, as adults age the chances of a lump being cancerous increases. Your risk further increases 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

What to expect at your appointment

After asking about your symptoms and lifestyle, your SFENTA™ doctor will carefully examine your head, neck, ears and throat looking for related symptoms. Depending on the findings, the following tests may be ordered:

  • Chest and sinus x-rays
  • Neck ultrasound
  • MRI of the head and neck
  • CBC (complete blood count) test

Contact SFENTA™ Today

A neck mass or lump has many causes and requires prompt evaluation by an ear, nose and throat doctor. Contact SFENTA™ today to schedule an appointment.

- Most insurance plans accepted -

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