Armpit Lumps Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment
Lumps in the armpit region are usually caused by formation of glandular enlargement or swelling of lymph nodes in the axillary region. There are several other factors that may lead to the formation of armpit lumps and may warrant treatment.
What Causes Armpit Lumps?
Most lumps are caused by abnormal growth of tissues or glandular matrix. Fortunately, most lumps are harmless.
Following are most common causes of armpit lumps:
- Benign or noncancerous growth of breast or glandular tissue also known as fibroadenoma
- Abnormal response to vaccinations
- Breast cancer
- Allergic response to antiperspirants, physical hygiene products such as deodorant, or soap
- Fatty outgrowths or lipomas
- Fluid or cystic masses due to bacterial or fungal infections
- Bacterial or viral infections that are associated with the formation of pus or secretions and drains into a pocket or cavity
Classic Symptoms Of Armpit Lumps
The most common symptom of armpit lump is the presence of a palpable or visible mass that may range in size from barely noticeable to about the size of lemon or bigger. The texture or edges of the mass can tell a lot about the cause of lump; for example, cancerous masses are usually hard with irregular edges; whereas fatty lipomas or cystic masses are usually smooth and soft to palpation.
Other symptoms are:
- Night sweats
- Swelling of surrounding tissue
- Discharge or secretion from the lump
- Changes of overlying skin
Women are highly recommended to perform periodic breast examination to detect breast masses and lumps.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Armpit Lumps
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is highly recommended to see a healthcare professional for early detection and prompt management of serious issues such as breast malignancy, leukemia and lymphoma.
Your doctor will conduct thorough examination and may also advise relevant tests such as radiography, ultrasound, MRI and even biopsy depending upon the findings of initial examination.
The treatment of armpit lumps depends on the inciting cause. If the lump is caused by an ongoing infection, appropriate antibiotic therapy can help in resolving the lump. If lump is caused by a deep-seated infection or accumulation of pus and discharge in a cavity, drainage of cyst can help in alleviating the pain and reduction of swelling.
Other treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter analgesics
- Warm compresses
- Removal of source of inflammation and allergy
For organic and malignant masses, surgical excision of lump is mandatory along with supplementary treatments like chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
It is noteworthy that periodic and timely assessment of cystic masses can help in early diagnosis of serious conditions like breast cancer.
- Othman, J., Robbins, E., Lau, E. M., Mak, C., & Bryant, C. (2017). Tattoo Pigment–Induced Granulomatous Lymphadenopathy Mimicking Lymphoma. Annals of Internal Medicine.
- Goyal, S., Bawa, R., Sangwan, S., & Singh, P. (2014). Fibroadenoma of axillary ectopic breast tissue: A rare clinical entity. Clinical Cancer Investigation Journal, 3(3), 242.