Lump on Shoulder | 8 Possible Causes, Treatment & More | Buoy (2022)

Wart

Warts, also called common warts or verrucae, are small, rough, rounded growths on the top layer of the skin. They may appear singly or in clusters.

Common warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are contagious through direct contact, especially through a break in the skin. They may spread from one place on the body to another simply through touch.

Anyone can get warts but they are most common in anyone with a weakened immune system, as from illness or chemotherapy. Children and teenagers are also susceptible to warts.

Warts often first appear on the hands and fingers, especially near the nails or after any injury to the skin. This is why biting fingernails is a risk factor for warts.

Warts are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. But they can be unsightly and interfere with normal use of the hands, so treatment is often beneficial.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination. Warts in children sometimes go away without treatment, but otherwise most warts can be easily removed in a doctor's office.

Skin cyst

A cyst is a small sac or lump, filled with fluid, air, fat, or other material, that begins to grow somewhere in the body for no apparent reason. A skin cyst is one that forms just beneath the skin.

It's believed that skin cysts form around trapped keratin cells – the cells that form the relatively tough outer layer of the skin.

These cysts are not contagious.

Anyone can get a skin cyst, but they are most common in those who are over age 18, have acne, or have injured the skin.

Symptoms include the appearance of a small, rounded lump under the skin. Cysts are normally painless unless infected, when they will be reddened and sore and contain pus.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination. A small cyst can be left alone, though if it is unsightly or large enough to interfere with movement it can be removed in a simple procedure done in a doctor's office. An infected cyst must be treated so that the infection does not spread.

Rarity: Common

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Top Symptoms: skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump

Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst: skin-colored armpit bump

Urgency: Wait and watch

Skin abscess

A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.

Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.

If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash

Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess: rash with bumps or blisters

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Pimple

Pimples are also called comedones, spots, blemishes, or "zits." Medically, they are small skin eruptions filled with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

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Pimples often first start appearing at puberty, when hormones increase the production of oil in the skin and sometimes clog the pores.

Most susceptible are teenagers from about ages 13 to 17.

Symptoms include blocked pores that may appear flat and black on the surface, because the oil darkens when exposed to the air; blocked pores that appear white on the surface because they have closed over with dead skin cells; or swollen, yellow-white, pus-filled blisters surrounded by reddened skin.

Outbreaks of pimples on the skin can interfere with quality of life, making the person self-conscious about their appearance and causing pain and discomfort in the skin. A medical provider can help to manage the condition, sometimes through referral to a dermatologist.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Treatment involves improving diet; keeping the skin, hair, washcloths, and towels very clean; and using over-the-counter acne remedies.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painful facial bump, marble sized facial lump

Symptoms that always occur with pimple: pink or red facial bump

Urgency: Self-treatment

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. Most s have a black or black-blue area. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be black, abnormal, or "ugly looking."

You should visit your primary care physician. Surgery is the first treatment of all stages of melanoma. Other treatments include chemotherapy and radiation, biologic, and targeted therapies. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: brown-colored skin changes, atypical features of a facial bump, black-colored skin changes, growing facial lump, large facial lump

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Symptoms that always occur with melanoma: atypical features of a facial bump

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Lipoma

Lipoma is a word that translates as "fatty tumor," but a lipoma is not cancer. It is simply a growth of fat between the muscle layer and the skin above it.

The exact cause is not known. The condition does run in families and is associated with other unusual syndromes such as adiposis dolorosa, which is similar. Lipomas most often appear after age 40.

Symptoms include a soft, easily moveable lump beneath the skin, about two inches across. A lipoma is painless unless its growth is irritating the nerves around it. They are most often found on the back, neck, and abdomen, and sometimes the arms and upper legs.

It is a good idea to have any new or unusual growth checked by a medical provider, just to make certain it is benign.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, biopsy, and imaging such as ultrasound or CT scan.

Most of the time, treatment is not necessary unless the lipoma is unsightly or is interfering with other structures. It can be removed through surgery or liposuction.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, small groin lump

Symptoms that always occur with lipoma: skin-colored groin bump

Urgency: Wait and watch

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common kind of skin cancer. It can develop almost anywhere on the body. It appears as abnormal spots or bumps on the skin. These bumps are often pink, red, or skin-colored and sometimes have a shiny surface. The main risk factor for developing this condition is prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sun exposure and tanning beds are both sources of UV radiation. People with a history of sunburns, previous skin cancer, and a weakened immune system are at higher risk for this condition.

Most cases of BCC can be easily treated because they grow slowly. Though if not treated, it can spread inside the body. Your provider will do a skin exam and possibly skin sample test, known as a biopsy. Treatment will depend on where the cancer is, its size, and your medical history. Some treatment options include cutting out the bump, freezing it, or using medicated skin cream.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: facial skin changes, pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painless facial bump, growing facial lump

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Atypical mole

Moles are growths on the skin. They happen when pigment cells in the skin, called melanocytes, grow in clusters. Certain moles are considered "atypical" because of their size and characteristics, which require careful watching and possibly even biopsy in order to monitor for development into cancer. Atypical moles, also called dysplastic nevi deserve more attention than normal moles.

You should go see your primary care doctor to examine the mole. He or she can determine if next steps are necessary.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: severe abdominal lump, brown-colored skin changes, moderate abdominal lump, atypical abdominal bump features, growing abdominal bump

Symptoms that always occur with atypical mole: black or brown abdominal bump, atypical abdominal bump features

Urgency: Primary care doctor

(Video) Why Is There a Lump in My Neck and Do I Need to Worry?

Questions your doctor may ask about shoulder bump

  • What color is the bump?
  • Do you purposely tan (using sun, tanning beds, or UV rays)?
  • Has anyone in your family had cancer?
  • Is your bump painful to touch?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

(Video) What's a LIPOMA TUMOR? | How Lipoma can be Treated? | Dr. Anirudh Vij

FAQs

What causes a lump on shoulder? ›

A lump on the shoulder, back, chest or arm is most likely to be a lipoma or a cyst. A lipoma is a soft, fatty lump that grows under the skin. It's fairly common, harmless and can usually be left alone. When you press a lipoma, it should feel soft and 'doughy' to touch.

Should I be worried about a lump on my shoulder? ›

Generally, shoulder lumps aren't a cause for concern. Most lumps go away on their own. But if your lump keeps growing, or if it doesn't go away in 2 weeks, see a doctor. You should also seek medical help if it hurts or causes discomfort.

Can a shoulder cyst be cancerous? ›

These hard nodules that appear beneath your skin may be cause for concern, but most of them are harmless. However, cancerous cysts do occur, so have any growth that is causing you pain or increasing in size diagnosed by a doctor.

What does a tumor feel like in your shoulder? ›

Instead, many patients experience sharp shoulder pain, arm pain and muscle weakness as a result of a tumor placing pressure on a nearby nerve. Patients may also experience other neurological symptoms like tingling sensations, impaired hand function and sensation loss.

How can you tell if a lump is cancerous? ›

Bumps that are cancerous are typically large, hard, painless to the touch and appear spontaneously. The mass will grow in size steadily over the weeks and months. Cancerous lumps that can be felt from the outside of your body can appear in the breast, testicle, or neck, but also in the arms and legs.

How do you tell if a lump is a tumor? ›

If the lump has solid components, due to tissue rather than liquid or air, it could be either benign or malignant. However, the only way to confirm whether a cyst or tumor is cancerous is to have it biopsied by your doctor. This involves surgically removing some or all of the lump.

When is a lump concerning? ›

your lump is painful, red or hot. your lump is hard and does not move. your lump lasts more than 2 weeks. a lump grows back after it's been removed.

What happens if lipoma is left untreated? ›

If a lipoma is left untreated for a long time, it will continue growing. The growth happens gradually and there is a possibility that the lump will grow around nerves and blood vessels. For a long time, lipomas won't cause pain but as the lump grows, the fat tissues may start compressing the blood vessels.

What causes lipoma on shoulder? ›

Madelung's disease: This condition occurs most often in men who drink alcohol excessively. Also called multiple symmetric lipomatosis, Madelung's disease causes lipomas to grow around the neck and shoulders.

Are shoulder tumors common? ›

The shoulder is the most common location of extra-abdominal desmoid tumors, which typically present in patients less than 40 years of age as firm, painful, deep lesions, often leading to restricted shoulder motion.

Can cyst be removed without surgery? ›

You can usually leave a cyst alone if it doesn't cause discomfort or cosmetic problems. If you seek treatment, talk with your doctor about these options: Injection. This treatment involves injecting the cyst with a medicine that reduces swelling and inflammation.

How can you tell the difference between a tumor and a cyst? ›

A cyst is a sac or capsule that's filled with tissue, fluid, air, or other material. A tumor is usually a solid mass of tissue.

Is a tumor hard or soft? ›

In fact, tumors may feel hard from the outside, but research has shown that individual cells within the tissue aren't uniformly rigid, and can even vary in softness across the tumor. However, cancer researchers didn't understand how a tumor could be both rigid and soft at the same time, until now.

Is a painful lump cancerous? ›

Cancer lumps usually don't hurt. If you have one that doesn't go away or grows, see your doctor. Night sweats. In middle-aged women, it can be a symptom of menopause, but it's also a symptom of cancer or an infection.

Can a cancerous lump appear overnight? ›

Cancerous lumps are hard and painless. They might seem to appear overnight and grow with time.

Which doctor should I consult for lump? ›

In case it is painful and increasing in size, it requires urgent medical attention. Consider meeting a Dermatologist or surgeon for physical examination and if needed a fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) or skin biopsy can be done to ascertain the nature of this lump.

Do cancerous lumps move? ›

Cancerous lumps are usually hard, painless and immovable. Cysts or fatty lumps etc are usually slightly softer to touch and can move around.

How do I know if my lump is sarcoma? ›

A sign of soft tissue sarcoma is a lump or swelling in soft tissue of the body. A sarcoma may appear as a painless lump under the skin, often on an arm or a leg. Sarcomas that begin in the abdomen may not cause signs or symptoms until they get very big.

When should I worry about a lump under my skin? ›

your lump is painful, red or hot. your lump is hard and does not move. your lump lasts more than 2 weeks. a lump grows back after it's been removed.

What causes lipoma on shoulder? ›

Madelung's disease: This condition occurs most often in men who drink alcohol excessively. Also called multiple symmetric lipomatosis, Madelung's disease causes lipomas to grow around the neck and shoulders.

What does a lipoma look like? ›

Lipomas often form in the fatty tissue under the skin. These are also the most noticeable ones, as they look and feel like soft, dome-shaped lumps under the skin. They vary in size from pea-sized to several centimetres in diameter.

What is the bony bump on your shoulder called? ›

Bone spurs (also called osteophytes) consist of excess bone growth around your joints, and are common in older adults. Bone spurs in the shoulders may develop as a result of degenerative joint conditions as well as injuries and general wear and tear. At first, a bone spur in the shoulder may not present any symptoms.

Videos

1. LUMP UNDER SKIN : LIPOMA, Cysts, Cancer, Warts, Callus, Moles, Corns | Dr.Education
(Dr.Education :Simplified Medical Explanations)
2. Painful armpit lump | Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment - Dr. Nanda Rajaneesh | Doctors' Circle
(Doctors' Circle World's Largest Health Platform)
3. Soft Tissue Sarcomas | FAQ with Dr. Adam Levin
(Johns Hopkins Medicine)
4. Gout, Pathophysiology, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatments, Animation.
(Alila Medical Media)
5. Bone Tumor. Symptoms
(Age2B)
6. Neck lumps: are they normal?
(Top Doctors UK)

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