What are Neck Masses?
Neck masses are also often referred to as neck lumps. Any kind of swelling or bump along the neck is referred to as a neck mass. They can be benign and completely harmless or they can be signs of more severe health concerns such as cancer.
Neck masses may be very hard or they can be very soft. They might be located under the skin or they could sprout from one of the vital structures within the neck. Understanding where they form is vital in determining what kind of mass it is and what the real problem is.
Causes of Neck Masses
Neck masses may be caused by a wide variety of factors. The more benign neck lumps are caused by mild infections that can be treated immediately. Others are caused by swollen lymph nodes and others, such as those under the skin, are often caused by sebaceous cysts.
The more dangerous neck masses may be caused by cancerous cells coagulating and forming malignant tumors on the neck. Fortunately, not many neck lumps in adults turn out to be cancerous.
Thyroid diseases such a swollen thyroid gland may also cause neck masses to form in adults. However, viral and bacterial sources are often the main cause of neck masses and luckily these types of lumps are easier to treat.
Other than the growing lump along the neck, other symptoms include:
How Common is This Disease?
Surprisingly many children develop neck masses. In the United States, 1 out of every 7 children will develop lumps of some sort, mostly due to bacterial causes. Adults do not develop these lumps as often and when they do it is often a sign of a more serious case, such as a malignant tumor.
Treatment Options for Neck Masses
Treatment of neck masses depend on the underlying cause. Neck masses caused by cancer cells will be treated via surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Cysts may be treated with medications or may be surgically removed. Bacterial masses will be treated with antibiotics.
Regular cysts may be treated with hot compress, allowing the fluids to relax. If the neck lump is caused by swollen lymph nodes then neck dissection, a surgical process, will remove the group of affected lymph nodes to eliminate the issue and ensure that it does not reoccur in the future.
For details of the ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT specialist.
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