Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why do I have large swollen bumps that hurt on my shoulders?"


I am twenty three years old and a student. I am allergic to pollen, kiwi, and latex, but I have not come into contact with any of those recently. I also have acne but it is mild to moderate at worst. The bumps are not red, but they are hard. There are only two of them. Are they possibly tumors?


One possibility is that these are cysts. There are several different types of cysts that can grow under the skin. These are generally benign, meaning they do not lead to cancer and they generally do not need to be treated unless they are bothersome to you.

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Occasionally, certain types of cysts can become red and inflamed, and in these cases warm compresses as well as potentially antibiotics from your primary care doctor might be necessary. Other than this complication, however, the cysts are usually not a problem. If they begin to grow or become uncomfortable, they can usually be removed surgically in a simple procedure that can be performed in your doctor's office using just local numbing medicine. Another possibility, depending upon how severe your acne on your back may have gotten at one point, is that you could have developed some scar tissue in a few areas where you had a particularly inflamed spot of acne. Again, this would not need treatment and can basically be left alone. I suggest seeing your primary care doctor and showing these spots to them. They will be able to tell you what is going on and help you decide if you need to do anything more.

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