Lump on Side of Neck

A lump in the neck, or a neck mass, can be very small or large enough to be noticed by others. Most of the times, you don't have to worry about a lump on side of neck because they are usually noncancerous and are usually caused by conditions such as swollen lymph nodes or cystic acne. You may need to see your doctor to ensure it's nothing seriousif you have a lump on right side of neck.

Possible Causes of Lump on Side of Neck

Lump in neck right sideis usually a cause of concern, but it could happen due to one of the following reasons.

1. Enlarged Lymph Nodes

There are several thousand lymph nodes in your body and their main job is to eliminate germs in the body serum. They also contain cells your body needs to deal with viral or bacterial infections and to eliminate cancerous cells. These nodes may swell when your body is fighting off infections from insect bites, colds, or small cuts. The glands may become firm and enlarged due to more serious infections and look like lump on side of neck.

2. Cysts

The lump you're noticing on the side of your neck may be a sebaceous cyst that's noncancerous and may contain semi-liquid or liquid material. These cysts grow slowly and can become uncomfortable over time.

3. Infections

Your neck lump may be the outcome of a viral infection like herpes, rubella, infectious mononucleosis, viral pharyngitis, or HIV/AIDs. It could also be due to a bacterial infection caused by atypical mycobacterium that usually affects people with depressed immune system. Other bacterial conditions that may cause a mass on the neck include cat scratch disease, strep throat, tuberculosis, tonsillitis, and peritonsillar abscess.

4. Goiter

The condition refers to the enlargement of your thyroid gland – it is usually noncancerous and is caused usually by iodine deficiency in your diet. It may sometimes be caused by hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. Anyone can develop this condition, but women over 50 are more at risk. You may not notice any symptom if goiter is not that severe; but if your thyroid grows large, you may also notice other symptoms, such as coughing, swallowing or breathing difficulties, tightness or swelling in the neck, and hoarseness.

5. Cancer

A lump on side of neckcould be due to neck or head cancer caused usually by alcohol overuse or tobacco products. If you don't smoke, you may still develop a cancer of the throat, neck, or mouth due to HPV (human papilloma virus) infection, which is a sexually transmitted virus. There are more chances that your neck mass is cancerous if you're over 40 years of age. Some of the most common cancers that may lead to a neck lump are Hodgkin's disease, cancer of the neck and head, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and other types of cancer related to skin, lung, breast, or throat.

6. Skin Tags

Acrochordons or commonly called skin tags are small brown or flesh-colored growths that usually hang off your skin like warts. They are harmless and are quite common as well. They may be large or small and are usually found on your armpits, neck, under the breasts, or around the groin. You may even see them develop under the folds of your buttocks or on your eyelids.

When to Worry About Lump on Side of Neck

A lump on the neck is usually harmless, but you should go see your doctor if it is very hard, you have difficulty swallowing, you notice growths in your mouth, or you notice new lumps as well. It is worth mentioning that painful lumps are less worrisome than painless ones. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor if your neck lump is still there after a few days and you're noticing other symptoms as well.

Diagnosing Lump on Side of Neck

Your doctor will look for certain symptoms and consider your medical history before getting to a conclusion. Your doctor may ask you about any symptoms of dental infections or colds, symptoms of cancer (difficulty swallowing and speaking), and specific risk factors for tuberculosis and HIV infection. They may also conduct a physical exam to look for signs of infection and growths on your tonsils, thyroid, tongue, etc. It is also common for them to feel your neck lump to know more about it.

After early examination, you may have to go see an ENT specialist for a detailed examination of your throat, nose, ears, and sinuses to ensure everything is fine. They may also run some other tests to identify the cause of your neck mass. These tests may include complete blood count (CBC) to know the number of white and blood cells. They may also ask for sinus X-rays; HIV test; chest X-rays to find problems with your trachea, lungs, and chest; biopsy to get your tissue samples for further evaluation; ultrasound of the neck to evaluate neck lumps; and MRI scans to make detailed images of your lump and other structures in your neck.


Depending upon the underlying cause, your doctor will suggest a treatment option. You may have to take antibiotics if your lump is due to a bacterial infection. You may require surgery or chemotherapy if it is a cancerous growth. Whatever the case, it is important to see your doctor when you notice lump on side of neckbecause early detection will increase your chances of getting recovered soon. So, don't take things lightly and consult with your doctor to rule out any possibilities of having an infection or cancer.

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