Skin lumps and bumps
It is not uncommon to have a skin lump appearing on a part of your body - the lump may have been there over a period of time, new or sometimes appearing larger and sometimes shrinking. The lump may feel hard or soft or painful and red and can appear movable. These are many types of skin lumps that one can have due to different reasons or diseases.
Clinical examination of the skin lump by a doctor will allow him or her to diagnose it accurately most of the time. The severity of a skin lump depends on the type of lump it is.
Skin lumps are very common and most of the time, they are not a cause for concern. There are different kinds of lumps and bumps such as skin cysts, infected sweat glands (sebaceous cyst), fatty lumps (lipomas), disorganized nest of blood vessels (haemangioma), nerves (neuroma), lymph nodes and many others.
Most skin lumps are benign but rarely they may be cancerous or a sign of a more serious disease.
The most common skin lumps are skin cysts, typically appearing around the face, neck or body.
They usually grow slowly and are non-cancerous, but they may become uncomfortable when inflamed
due to an infection.
Fatty lumps (lipomas) may appear and may slowly grow to become noticeable or uncomfortable. They are benign organised fat cells that grow into a lump, they may occur after mild trauma or may just appear spontaneously.
Blocked skin or sweat glands (sebaceous cyst) can occur and they may convalesce into a lump. They may get infected and become painful and red, similar to a pimple on the face.
Swollen lymph nodes may occur when you are having an infection. As your immune system fights the infection, it may cause the glands in your arms and neck to be harder, painful and more noticeable. These lymph nodes should slowly return to their normal size as your illness runs its course. Occasionally, if they remain enlarged, a biopsy may be recommended as they can be a sign of a serious disease, e.g., cancer, lymphoma etc.
What to watch out for
Observe your lump and pay attention if it swells and increases in size over a period of time, or if it enlarges and subsides after certain events or activities.
If the swelling is persistent, enlarges or causes discomfort or pain, seek medical attention early for an evaluation and professional advice.
Although skin lumps are usually not a cause for concern, it is best to consult a medical professional if the lump does not subside by itself over a period of time. If surgery is required, a simple excision biopsy of the lump either in the clinic, or in a Day Surgery suite can usually be performed.