Does a lump always mean cancer? | Dr. Heena Chawla | Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Does a lump always mean Cancer?

Does a lump always mean Cancer?

by: Dr. Heena Chawla
Consultant- Gynec-Oncology & Endoscopic Surgeon - Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Lump is a mass caused by the abnormal growth of cells, a cyst, hormonal changes or an immune reaction. Finding a lump in the body can give everyone sleepless nights as rarely a lump might mean cancer. But  every lump is not a matter of concern. A large number of these lumps are  not harmful (non cancerous) and thus not a reason to worry. However they require regular follow up and monitoring. Certain skin or medical conditions lead to lumps which are present just below or on the surface of skin. These lumps can form anywhere in the body like breast, brain, kidney, ovary, lung, liver, uterus etc. Thus we should be aware which lumps can be cancerous and a reason to worry.

The ones which are soft, move or change shape on touching or located in superficial or fat layer of skin are usually harmless.  When they are small in size they usually do not cause any symptoms. However when the size is big they can press adjacent organs and cause symptoms. For these benign (non cancerous) lumps if they are not causing any symptoms no treatment might be necessary. Medications can be given sometimes to reduce the size of the mass like in ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids. At times surgery may be required for these benign masses depending on the location, size and symptoms. However, one should be cautious if these lumps are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. They grow steadily over weeks and months. Then your doctor might suggest further investigations like CT scan/MRI and FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) or biopsy of the mass. If the mass is found cancerous on these investigations then a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be required. Thus,most of the masses are benign require only observation. But one should be on guard for any changes in them like sudden increase in size, skin discoloration over it , any abnormal discharge and report it your doctor immediately.

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