Lump on Side of Neck – One day, a girl look at herself on the mirror. She saw a little unsightly lump on side of neck. She wondered, how it could be there and why. This article will deals with the subject, we will describe some potential cause of lump on side of neck. This article however is not the substitution of doctor/ medical officer’s diagnostic. If you see lump on side of neck of yours, always seek medical attention first.
What’s Inside the neck
To understand the cause of the lump on side of neck, It would be important to understand what’s inside it. Human neck is very complex part, consist of many kinds of tissues and organs. There is larynx, windpipe and voicebox which determine your voice, thyroid and parathyroid glands that controls your metabolism and growth, various veins and artery, lymph nodes and nerve cords and let’s not forget the outer tissue like skin. Each of those parts however might contract disease which might have lump as a symptoms. Thus location of the lump would play important part in diagnostic.
When to visit doctor ?
So, you know that there’s a mass/lump on your neck, when to visit doctor ? The answer for that is as soon as possible. However not all neck lump are caused by serious condition e.g cancer. It could be caused by simple acne, skin problem or you were happen to catch cold or sore throat. You may observe the lump for around one or two weeks, if the lump does not disappear or grow larger, there you may need to seek for medical attention. During examination, your doctor may ask your health record, and various other things like your lifestyle.
Lump on Side of Neck
Possible cause #1 –Skin infection/problem
Not all neck lump are caused by inner body infection, sometime it’s just sign of acne or other skin infection. Although it could be rare but acne might form there.
Possible cause #2 –Salivary duct obstruction.
Neck lump can also be caused by obstruction of salivary duct. It might be a rare condition but it can occur. The cause of this condition is unknown but believed to be combination of factor like medication, eating behavior and others that could reduce saliva production and somewhat causing it to form mass/calculus. The obstruction may cause pain and great discomfort to victim. However this is not a serious condition and can even be treated at home.
Possible cause #3 – Lymph node swelling
The lymph node contains special cells which help immunity system of human body fighting infections. There are many lymph nodes around the body, some of which located in neck. The high activity of cells in lymph node area can make the node swelling up to a size and make it noticeable. The disease however can be from many sources like :
- Common cold
- Tooth abcess/toothache : untreated toothache can sometime “distribute” bacteria from the decayed tooth down to bloodstream and causing more serious condition. Beside swelling in lymph node, you might also experience fever.
- Sinusitis : Sinus is a cavity around your face. It usually contains air and have special duct that connects it to nose. However in some conditions like common cold, rhinitis (nose infection) The sinus duct can be blocked, and the sinus got filled with bacterial or other germs. Thus causing infection.
Possible Cause #4 : Thyroid gland problem
Thyroid gland is located in the neck, specifically around larynx and trachea. This organ is the largest endocrine glands in the body. This organ produces T4 or Thyroxine and T3 (triiodothyronine) These hormones are synthesized from tyrosine and iodine. Because of it’s close proximity to the surface or our body, any disease or disorders of the thyroid gland can produce lumps or mass. Some of these disorders/diseases are :
- Hyperthyroidism : Overactive thyroid gland. The cause of this are unclear, but believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factor. Some symptoms are tremors, insomnia, hair loss and hyperactivity. Therapy available are medication using PTU (Polythiuracil), Radioactive iodine ingestion or surgery. Radioactive iodine however is often preferred due to its non invasive nature.
- Goiter : the increase in mass and size of thyroid gland due to iodine deficiency. The thyroid gland can be restored by iodine therapy. However the condition can be irreversible after five years. Thus removal of entire thyroid gland become necessity.
Possible Cause #5–Cancer
Another possibility that can cause neck lump. This condition however often goes unnoticed and once it’s known it’s already in state of metastasis. There’s a special group of cancer that called as Head and neck cancer. They consist of :
- Thyroid cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Nasopharynx cancer
- Oral/mouth cancer
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Some other cancers however e.g breast cancer may also cause lump on neck in advanced stage where its abnormal cells spread throughout body from bloodstream or lymph system. The cause of cancers are still not fully understood. However for head and neck cancer it’s often related to unhealthy lifestyle like smoking or alcoholism. Both substances are abrasive and can damage throat and oral cavity linings, damaging cells and causing it to abnormally mutate. Thus become agressive and grow uncontrollably.
Another cause of cancer is by infection of certain viruses like Epstein-barr and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Which found in two thirds of US throat cancer patients. Treatment of cancer relies on how early it stage. Cancer that found at early stage can be treated more successfully compared to those at advanced stage. Available treatment ranged from surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. There are also alternative therapy which relies on herbal medicine which expected to deprive cancer cells of nutrition, this alternative therapy however is still under study.
At very advanced stage. The cancer might become incurable. Thus a form of treatment called as “palliative care” is performed. The purpose of the therapy is not to cure the cancer but to eliminate or reduce it’s pain or slowed its progress. The therapy combines medicine with physiological treatment to help improve life quality and cherish the patient.
See also: 23 Home Remedies for Toothache