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Pediatric Head and Neck Lumps

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Summary

While a lump on your child’s head or neck can be concerning, most rarely pose a health risk. Still, it is important to have the lump evaluated by your doctor if it does not disappear within a week or two.

Expanded Overview

All lumps should be checked by a physician. Most often, these lumps are caused by infections that can be treated. Treatment should start quickly to prevent complications or the spread of infection. 

You can usually see a lump resolve within a week. If the lump does not resolve, or gets larger or is interfering with your child’s breathing or eating, call your physician immediately for an appointment.

Symptoms

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Cyst

Tests and Diagnosis

If your physician is concerned about the lump on your child’s head or neck, you may be referred for further tests. Examination of some masses may determine their cause based on location, size and consistency. In other cases, however, additional imaging tests may be required, such as:

Treatment

Treatments for a head or neck lump are determined by the cause of the mass.

  • Benign lumps may be treated with medication or removed by surgery.
  • If the lump is cancerous, treatment may include a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Cancerous head and neck lumps are very rare in children.

Resources

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