ZocdocAnswersWhat is this knot on the side of my neck?

Question

What is this knot on the side of my neck?

At the base of my neck where it starts to turn into my shoulder I have a small knot under my skin. It is hard and I can move it around a little when I touch it with my fingers. What is this? I don't want it to be something serious that I should have taken care of right away!

Answer

I would definitely recommend that you get this checked out by your primary care doctor. There are a couple of different possibilities here, and your doctor can help figure things out. The first possibility is that this is a simple cyst under the skin. Cysts are very common, and they can occur anywhere on the body under the skin. Fortunately, they are benign and they do not cause any serious medical problems, although they sometimes do need to be removed surgically if they are causing pain or other symptoms. The other possibility is that this is a lymph node. There are many lymph nodes in the neck, and they periodically may swell up, usually because they have just been involved in fighting off an infection. In this case, the swelling should generally go back down again within a few weeks. On the other hand, if the lymph node stays swollen for a longer period of time, this can sometimes be concerning for cancer. Your doctor will take a look at the lump and help figure out whether it is concerning; if so you may need additional blood work and, potentially, a biopsy of the lump. Get in to see your doctor right away!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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