Most of us see lumps, bumps and skin growths of any kind as highly suspicious, and end up googling it—and over-diagnosing ourselves. What we don’t know in fact is that most lumps and bumps are benign in nature, i.e. they are harmless and not cancerous.
While most cancers do indeed start as lumps or bumps, they are also accompanied by other alarming signs and not an isolated lump. So how exactly to know that a lump is harmless? Read onto find when to see a general physician for a cancer scare:
Benign or malignant:
A benign growth is a harmless growth or lump that has formed due to an innocuous cause and will likely go away on its own. A malignant growth, on the other hand, is a cancerous growth that grows day by day and soon spreads to adjacent areas. Malignant growths have specific locations and are accompanied by signs such as a change in colour or texture.
When it comes to such growths, it is best to first visit your family medicine physician or general physician, as advices Dr. Timothy Wollner, DO, family medicine at Rush University Medical Center. More often than not, these lumps are harmless growths and can be easily treated.
Location, location and location:
The first clue about the lump or bump is given by its location. It is mostly the location of a lump and bumps that help in forming a diagnosis. If it occurs in the armpit or groin, a lump is most often caused by an ingrown hair or a skin tag. The skin tags are a pretty common occurrence in this location. They are harmless enough and can be easily cut, frozen or removed by your healthcare provider.
Many harmless skin conditions can also cause a lump as can lymph nodes. A smooth, firm lump that is located on the torso or neck could be a lipoma, a benign tumor of fat cells. A lipoma can be easily removed by a surgeon if it causes you discomfort.
A lump under your ear or near the jaw can be a swollen lymph node following a viral infection or a cold. It is not uncommon to have such lumps as the lymph nodes help fight infection, and are therefore active during infection. They will recede on their own after you have recovered.
When to investigate?
If you have a lump or bump or swelling that is slowly increasing in size, or it is bleeding and getting hard, then it is time to visit your doctor. Most malignant swellings tend to be rubbery in texture and can bleed—for instance, those of breast cancer. A painless swelling that persists for more than six weeks warrants an examination by a professional. Common locations for malignant swellings include the neck, armpit or groin. Sometimes malignant swellings are accompanied by weight loss, fever and fatigue. If there are multiple symptoms like these, then you should immediately see a doctor.
It is better to get a swelling or a lump get checked out by a professional and get peace of mind. You can easily book an appointment with a top general physician in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.