Differences between Cancerous Lumps and Ordinary Lumps in the Armpit
Many people immediately panic when they find a lump in the armpit. This is caused by the notion that the appearance of a lump in the armpit is a sign of a serious health problem. Is this lump really something dangerous?
The difference between an ordinary lump and a cancerous lump in the armpit
In most cases, lumps in the armpit are the result of abnormal tissue growth. In addition, lumps in the armpits can be related to swollen lymph nodes.
However, a lump in the armpit can also be an indication of a serious problem. A painful lump can indeed potentially be a sign that the lump is cancerous. However, you don’t need to worry first, because apparently there are other causes of lumps that are painful and tender.
Infection or inflammation tends to cause pain, while cancer tends not to cause pain. Therefore, lumps that don’t feel pain need to be watched out for more.
Size and texture can also be a sign of the cause of a lump in the armpit. For example, lumps caused by infections and lipomas will feel tender to the touch. However, if it is caused by fibroadenoma and cancer, the lump will feel hard and cannot move.
Apart from causing a lump in the armpit, an infection in the body will be accompanied by several other symptoms, such as:
- Swelling throughout the lymph nodes in the body.
- Night sweats.
A lump that gets bigger over time or doesn’t go away can be a sign of a more serious cancer, such as:
Also Read: Lumps in Breasts, Should You Worry?
How to Identify a Lump in the Armpit
If you find a lump in the armpit, here are some steps you can take to find out a normal lump or a cancerous lump, including:
1. Watch for Lumps
You need to watch the lump carefully because each lump has a different shape, size and color depending on the cause.
If the lump is painful, red and swollen, or filled with pus, it could be caused by an ingrown hair or follicular infection.
If the lump is not red, inflamed, or filled with pus, then it is possible that the lump is caused by a lipoma or a growth of fatty tissue. This lipoma will feel soft, supple, and can move when given gentle pressure.
However, if the lump doesn’t hurt, feels hard when touched, and gets bigger over time, then there is an indication of a tumor or cancer in the lump.
2. Pay attention to the location of the lump
The location of the lump also needs to be watched carefully. Common lumps are generally only located in one area.
Please note, there is some breast tissue is located close to the armpit. If you notice a lump near the time of menstruation, then this condition can be caused by hormonal changes.
However, do not rule out the possibility of a lump in the armpit being a sign of breast cancer.
3. Observe lumps in other organs
Apart from the armpits, swollen lymph nodes can also be found in the neck area, or in the groin area.
In the case of cancer, swollen lymph nodes can be caused by cancer cells that have spread from the bone marrow. Therefore, you need to be vigilant if lumps are found in several organs of the body.
4. Do a Thorough Check
The best way to find out if a lump is cancer or not is by medical examination.
Examination consists of a physical examination, imaging tests, biopsies, or histopathology. Through this examination, the doctor can make a more certain diagnosis of the disease.
In a biopsy examination, the doctor will remove the gland completely or take a tissue sample using a needle. The taken tissue will be checked for cancer cells in it.
Meanwhile, imaging tests can help see the spread of cancer.
Differences in Symptoms Between Men and Women
Lumps in the armpit can be felt by men and women at any age. In most cases, these lumps are harmless. However, women are advised to be more aware of the possibility of a lump in the armpit as an indication of breast cancer.
Women are advised to do breast self-examination (BSE) and visit a doctor for routine health checks. When you notice a lump, women are advised to immediately go to the doctor for an examination.
Men have a smaller risk of experiencing a lump in the armpit due to breast cancer. However, it is possible for men to experience it. You You can postpone consulting a doctor until there are more serious symptoms.
Various Causes of the Appearance of Lumps in the Armpits
Here are some conditions that can cause armpit lumps, including:
1. Use of Deodorants and Antiperspirants
Deodorants and antiperspirants are products that are useful for preventing body odor. However, deodorants can cause skin allergies. One allergic reaction can cause swelling in the armpits.
Antiperspirants are products that work by blocking the sweat ducts so that the skin does not sweat when it becomes sweaty. The compounds in it can also clog pores which eventually causes swelling.
2. Abnormal Hair Growth
Sometimes, hair in the armpit area can grow into the skin instead of outside the skin. This condition is also known as ingrown hair. Growth of hair in the skin can cause inflammation which eventually makes lumps appear in the armpits.
3. Underarm Infection
The process of shaving the hair on the armpits can cause infection. When the underarm skin is infected, a lump can appear. This condition can be caused by any age, but is most common in teenagers.
Also Read: 11 Causes of Black Underarm Skin, What Are They?
4. Hormonal Disorders
For men, hormonal disorders can also be a cause of lumps in the armpits. Usually, the hormone that is disturbed is the thyroid hormone. The production of this hormone is sometimes excessive and can cause swelling in the armpits.
5. Lymph node disorders
Lymph nodes are one of the most important parts of the body because they can help fight viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
When the lymph nodes work actively against infection in the body, these glands can experience swelling.
Not only in the armpits, but the lymph nodes in the neck or groin can also swell and eventually a lump appears on the skin.
6. Infected with a Virus
Lumps in the armpits can also be associated with viral infections. Some viruses such as herpes, HIV or smallpox can cause lumps to appear in the armpits that should be watched out for.
Although a lump in the armpit tends to be harmless, it does not rule out the possibility that it indicates a serious health problem.
In the end, realizing that you have a lump in your armpit can be scary, so it’s important to check with your doctor to determine the cause and plan for treatment.
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- Fletcher, Jenna. 2020. Armpit Lumps: What You Need To Know. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317047. (Accessed 27 February 2023).
- Leukaemia Care. Spotting The Difference: Swollen Lymph Nodes In Leukaemia Vs During An Infection. https://www.leukaemiacare.org.uk/support-and-information/latest-from-leukaemia-care/blog/spotting-the-difference-swollen-lymph-nodes-in-leukaemia-vs-during-an- infection/. (Accessed 27 February 2023).
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