Head & Neck Masses
A number of masses may develop in your head or neck; these masses may also be called growths, tumors, lumps or bumps. While some head and neck masses are cancerous, many are not. It is important to see a physician if any abnormal bump or lump persists for more than two weeks. If a cancer is present, early detection provides the highest chance of successful treatment.
Some causes of head and neck masses could include:
Enlargement of lymph nodes – part of the immune system and can enlarge when the body rallies to fight and infection.
Benign (non-cancerous) lesions – can grow to cause localized problems and are often removed surgically. These include fatty tumors, cysts, thyroid masses, salivary gland masses and others.
Cancers – sinus, mouth and throat cancers can spread to the neck or to other parts of the body. In the neck, tumors may be either primary or secondary. Please click here for more information on head and neck cancers.
Symptoms of Head & Neck Masses
You should consider scheduling with one of our physicians if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Lump in the neck persisting for more than two weeks, especially if it is not associated with a cold, flu or other infection.
- Change in your voice including hoarseness that persists more than two weeks.
- Growth in the mouth.
- Swollen tongue.
- Blood in the saliva or phlegm.
- Swallowing problems.
- Persistent ear pain or ear pain while swallowing, especially if it is not associated with a cold, flu or other infection.
- Unexplained weight loss.
Evaluation and Treatment for Head & Neck Masses
A simple examination of some masses may allow a physician to determine their cause based on location, size and consistency. In other cases, additional tests may be required.
At your visit with an ENT specialist, you will be given:
- A complete history
- A complete physical exam of the head and neck region
- Laryngoscopy (a specialized scope used to view the lower throat), when warranted
- Imaging/X-rays, when warranted (may include MRI, CT
- Blood work/lab testing, when warranted
- Biopsy (sample of tissue for checking by pathologist), when warranted
Treatments are determined by the cause of the mass. Symptomatic benign neck cysts and masses are usually removed by surgical excision. For more information on treatment of head and neck cancers, please click here.
We are here to ease your worries. Call DeFatta ENT & Allergy at (715) 828-2368 for more information or to schedule an appointment.