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HealthInfo Canterbury

Neck lumps

Lumps in the neck are very common and are not usually a serious problem.

Many things can cause lumps in your neck, as the lumps can be in your skin, lymph nodes, thyroid gland or salivary glands.

Swollen lymph nodes are one of the common causes. They can be found all around your neck. Lymph nodes are part of your immune system, which fights infection, and they can stay swollen for several weeks after the infection has gone.

Lumps in the front of your neck may be in your thyroid gland.

If the lump is under your jaw and comes and goes when you eat, it may be from a stone in a salivary gland. These are where you make spit (saliva) to keep your mouth moist and help with eating. Check with your doctor as you may need to have the stone removed.

If you find a new neck lump, get it checked by your doctor. This is more important if the lump feels hard, is growing, doesn't go away after three weeks, or you also have any of the following:

Your doctor will check the lump and decide if you need any treatment or tests.

Tests for neck lumps include taking a small sample with a a fine needle aspiration (FNA), an ultrasound scan and blood tests.

The treatment for the neck lump will depend on what's causing it. It could involve treating an infection, or surgery to remove the lump.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2020.


Page reference: 171608

Review key: HINKLP-171608