When a Neck Lump is Serious

Lymph nodes are organs spread throughout the body and are part of the lymphatic system. These important structures are often subject to infection and it is very common for lymph nodes on the neck to become swollen. There are times, however, when these lumps or bumps may need more than the usual attention. Generally, a neck lump caused by a viral infection will heal over time and the swelling will subside. For bacterial infections, time coupled with a round of antibiotics usually does the trick. So how do you know when a neck lump is serious? In the event these bumps on the neck do not go away, there are some signs and symptoms that can help one determine whether this is a serious condition requiring medical attention.

Certain cancers of the neck and head can be found in the lymph nodes, often causing the nodes on the neck to protrude. How is one to tell if this neck lump is a sign of cancer or if the cause is a simple virus or other infection? Symptoms, such as having trouble swallowing, exhibiting an abnormal growth on the tongue, or developing vocal changes or hoarseness, can indicate a trip to the doctor may be in order. Other symptoms can include ulcers on the skin or an enlarged thyroid. Bleeding in the nose, mouth, or when coughing are additional signs that, when coupled with a neck lump, should be examined. Pain that does not go away, earaches, and black and blue marks should also be brought to the attention of the physician.

While the occasional swollen lymph node is normal, be on the lookout for those symptoms that could be an indication of a more serious problem. To get the proper care, bring these to the attention of an ear, nose, and throat specialist. When a number of the symptoms listed above are seen together, and over a period of time, a trained professional can help determine when a neck lump is serious and something more than just an infection. Timely diagnosis and treatment can prove greatly beneficial; it can even be lifesaving.