I remember a lesson back in my college years in Nursing when we were taught on how to properly palpate our patients to feel any form of lumps that may signal a medical concern.
I believe this skill has been a great help for me especially when I need to check some of my family members who expressed worry about something either movable or not in some parts of their body.
When you feel a lump in any part of your body or an accumulation of mass under your skin, it always makes you stop, feel it again and think about why or how you got it. Many lumps are harmless.
These can be associated with physical activities such as exercise and commuting, or curable, minor health conditions. If they persist, however, these lumps can be a sign of something more serious.
Non-serious lumps are usually soft, mobile or can move or change shape when touched, located in the superficial layer of the skin, or can grow large and painful with activity but diminishing in size with rest. For these types of lumps, mostly resulting from rigorous physical activity, there is an immediate first- aid relief, though: get rest, apply ice and compression.
Other types of lumps can be brought about by other conditions which need further assessment.
Types of lumps in the body
According to National Health Services UK, the following are areas where lumps can appear that are indicative of diseases and health complications:
- Mumps – This is the swelling of the parotid glands on the side of the face, most commonly occurring among children. Patients may experience headaches, joint pain, and may have high fever for a few days.
- Allergic reactions – A person allergic to peanuts, strawberries and seafood can develop lumps and swelling under the skin. This can be life-threatening if accompanied with difficulty in breathing.
- Dental abscess – Bacterial infection may form on the inside of the teeth, in the gums or even in the bone structure surrounding the teeth and lead to lump and swelling on the side of the mouth. This can be accompanied by infection and fever.
- Salivary gland stone – Chemical in the saliva can crystallize and form a stone, which causes a lump and swelling near the jaw area.
- Swollen lymph glands – Swelling in the lymph glands often signals an infection. Once the infection is treated, the lump subsides. However, recurring lump or swelling of the lymph glands could be an indication of a more serious health condition like cancer of the lymphatic system or head and neck cancer. Such cases require a complete and thorough medical assessment.
- Skin tags – These are wart-like, skin-colored growths that hang off the skin. It can also occur in the armpits, around the groin area, under the breasts and even on the eyelids.
- Goiter – This is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland which is usually caused by a lack of iodine in the diet.
- Mastitis – This is most common among pregnant and breastfeeding women.Breast tissues become swollen and painful due to an infection.
- Hernia – Swelling or lump occurs in the abdomen or groin area when an internal organ pushes through weak spot in a surrounding muscle that holds it in place.
- Lumps in the testicle area – They could be due to swollen veins, build-up of fluid or some form of inflammation. However, some lumps can indicate testicular cancer.
If you are experiencing one of these conditions, it is best to get lumps checked out for immediate relief or to get a complete diagnosis as your lump may indicate something more serious.
Lumps that can be a cause for worry
Lumps should be assessed by your doctor if they are not associated with any physical activity or if the lump and its accompanying conditions worsen. Instead of losing sleep over it, ask your doctor to perform a complete diagnosis of your lump.
Characteristics of lumps that can indicate more serious illnesses include pain and redness, swelling or growing bigger, lump is hard and doesn’t move, lump grows back after being removed, lump in the breast or testicles, and swelling in the side of the neck, armpit, or groin area that doesn’t go away.
Not all types of lumps indicate cancer. However, a lump is one of the telling signs of breast cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer. These diseases can be easier to treat if patients are diagnosed and assessed early.
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