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Women's Health

Lump at the base of my skull??

03/06/2006

Question:

Hi there!! I wonder if you can help?? I`ve been really worried as I have found a lump at the base of my skull (top of my neck) the lump is painless unless I get stressed (which I do alot)!! Could you please help as I don`t know what it is??

Answer:

I am responding to your question about the lump at the base of your neck that is painless and seems to be present in times of stress. I have thought of several things that this could be, but I encourage you to discuss them with your doctor to see if any of them is a possibility.

There are lymph nodes that are located at the base of your skull at the top of your neck. Lymph nodes are usually swollen in relation to infection, but can be inflamed from simply pulling hair too tight into a pony tail, to something serious such as lymph node cancer. You could have some swelling of these lymph nodes.

I also was considering that possibly the muscles of your neck become tight and inflamed when you are stressed and this is what you feel. I would think this would cause some mild discomfort, but if it occurs a lot, maybe you think that is normal.

The last thing I considered was a benign, non-cancerous growth. Some possibilities include a Lipoma which is also called a fatty tumor. The other would be a sebaceous cyst. These growths would not change from time to time, but maybe you notice them when you are stressed and rubbing your neck.

Please get this checked out, but take the information I have given you to ask some good questions.

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Response by:

Allison A Macerollo, MD Allison A Macerollo, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University