Lumps can pop up on the body for a variety of reasons. When they form on the neck, they can stem from anything, like a viral infection or an abnormal growth of cancerous tissue, so it’s important to see an expert like Dr. Vandana Kumra for an accurate diagnosis.
As an ear, nose, and throat provider, Dr. Kumra at ENT New York diagnoses and treats masses on the neck regularly. Generally speaking, if you develop a lump in your throat that lasts a week, you should get evaluated. However, don’t wait to schedule an appointment if you have a painful mass or one that interferes with breathing or swallowing.
In this blog, Dr. Kumra shares some of the most common causes of neck masses and when they could be due to your thyroid.
Causes of neck lumps
When you have a mass in your neck, it can be large enough to see or only detected by touch.
The most common reason for lumps to appear in this area is because of the lymph nodes. This part of your lymphatic system functions like a filter, helping to rid your body of foreign matter, cells, or germs. As a result, swollen lymph nodes often develop because of infection or illness, and they’re typically soft and tender to the touch.
Neck masses can also form in muscles because of injury, under the jaw because of swollen salivary glands, or near the skin because of cysts. And, since the thyroid gland sits at the base of the throat, it can also be the source of neck masses.
Neck masses and the thyroid
Your thyroid is a workhorse in your endocrine system, making and releasing hormones that control your metabolism. It’s a big job, but the gland is only about two inches long. However, several issues can also affect the thyroid, including growths and swelling.
Types of thyroid-related neck masses include:
- Nodules: overgrowths of thyroid tissue
- Cysts: fluid-filled structures
- Goiters: enlarged thyroid tissue
- Cancer: growths of cancerous thyroid tissue
When thyroid masses form, they often occur at the base of the neck, and you can have one or several.
While these masses aren’t usually life-threatening, they can sometimes interfere with the ability to breathe or swallow. They can also cause problems with thyroid function, which can trigger serious complications, from weight loss and muscle weakness to irritability and an irregular heartbeat.
Dr. Kumra can determine if your mass is due to your thyroid and outline the best treatment.
Treating neck masses
As you might suspect, the most effective treatment depends on what’s triggering your condition. If it’s related to your thyroid, Dr. Kumra could recommend several options, such as:
- Close observation and regular testing
- Hormone therapy to restore healthy thyroid function
- Surgery to remove the nodule or part — or all — of the thyroid
The prognosis for neck masses is typically good with expert care, even cancer, and you’re in the best hands with Dr. Kumra.
Do you have a neck mass? Get an accurate diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment at ENT New York by scheduling a consultation with Vandana Kumra, MD.