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Friday, July 18, 2008 Nanina, Community Member, asks

Q: Small lump on my armpit

A few days ago I was shaving and found this lump on my armpit and of course I got scared  (that's why I ended up on this page).  My husband tells me its nothing to worry about but being as dramatic as I am I'm thinking cancer.

A couple of days later it smaller. Could it still be something to worry like I am?

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Answers (10)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/19/08 10:45am

Hi Nanina - Keep your eye on it; if it disappears and doesn't return, it might have been a swollen lymph node, or something hormonal. But lumps in the armpit can indeed be breast cancer, if they don't disappear... So don't listen to your husband! If you're worried, definitely get it checked out, OK? And good for you, being aware of breast changes. Good luck - PJH

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Angi, Community Member
7/19/08 2:38pm

Hi Nanina

I'm thinking there's a good possibility that it could have been a swollen or infected lymph node, especially since you noted that it got smaller.  They are bean shaped nodules that are in your neck, armipits, chest and groin.  They are in clusters, and can often be felt when they are enlarged.  lymph nodes transport nutrients and collect waste - so if by chance it was swollen it could be something normal - of course there is such a thing as lymphoma (cancer of the nodes) - AND as PJ said, it is possible that it could be a breast lump as breast tissue does extend to your armpits.  But with breast lumps it could be hormonal, lumpy tissue, cysts, or tumors.

I'd say definitely plan on seeing your doctor if it doesn't go away.  It's always better to be safe than sorry!

Good luck!

Angi

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arg, Community Member
8/ 6/08 11:00pm

Has your lump gone away completely???  I discovered a lump sometime ago under both armpits and now mine has increased to a size of an egg but am too scared to get it checked out. I have began taking anti inflammatories hoping this would decrease it but after a couple of days it has not gotten smaller. I plan on calling my MD tomorrow.  Hope you are doing well and it was only a cyst. I would love to hear how you are making out.

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lele1979, Community Member
12/ 4/09 9:41am

I have had a lump under my armpit since I was about 12 or so, I am now 30.  All these years I have paid it no mind, but it has always hurt (when i squeeze it) I can't not feel the pain reguarly, like doing normal everyday tasks.....

Well, in July 2009, i get a call from dad saying mom has breast cancer!!!!!!! what!

I am going to get it checked out immediately!  I still find it strange that I have never had symptoms of something "wrong"......but Im not going to wait anymore.  I am going to get it checked.  It seems like a common thing!

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arg, Community Member
12/ 5/09 9:12pm

I'm sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis.  Did she have radiation and chemotherapy?  How is she doing now?  The treatments can make you very tired and sick but when they are over you start feeling like yourself again but it takes time.  How are you doing?  Did you get your lump examined?  I hope the both of you are well. arg

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Amy Luley, Community Member
9/17/08 8:02pm

I too have a small lump in my armpit and don't know what it is.  I went to the emergency room and they told me it was cellulitis because there were red bumps around the armpit area  I was given antibiotics.  The lump is still there---its hard and right in my armpit.  I too am worried that it's cancer.  I  am going to a County clinic because I have no health insurance and am scared of cancer.  The cancer could be somewhere else like in your colon--and the swollen lymph node is just an auto immune reaction to an infection or cancer cells.  Please go have this checked.  I have no insurance but I will find a way.

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Cailin, Community Member
12/24/08 3:05pm

i am 14 years old and i discovered a lump on my armpit, it hurts a little bit, and i am scared that it will be cancer of some sort. please someone help me, i have asked my mom about it, and she said if it doesnt go away or gets bigger then we'll get it checked out... i dont know what to do i am too young to die :'(

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arg, Community Member
12/ 5/09 9:16pm

Hi Cailan,

 

I was reading your note above.  Did your lump go away?  Did your mom bring you to get it looked at by a doctor?  You said the lump hurts a little bit so please get it looked at. It may only be a common cyst that gets infected from shaving and will go away but please get it looked at.  Write back and let me know how you made out when you can.  Good luck and don't worry, you will be just fine.

 

Thanks!

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rosie, Community Member
11/ 9/11 11:38pm

i am 13 and i found a lumd on my armpit and i so sacred i am getting checked out very soon i so scvared as well T.T

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/10/11 5:14am

Rosie, don't be scared.  The lump might be an enlarged lymph node working hard to fight a cold or other infection.  There are several other things it could be, but the least likely is cancer.  I'm glad you are getting it checked out, but I'm confident that this won't be a life-threatening problem.  It's smart to pay attention to changes in your body, but keep in mind that as you go through puberty, you are going to be seeing many perfectly normal changes.  So let your mom and/or other trusted adults know about your worries, and they can help you figure out which changes might need a doctor's attention, and which are normal. This link will take you to an article on normal breast development in teens.

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Meganr56, Community Member
7/14/10 12:16pm

I found a lump in my armpit about a week ago. I was going to go get it looked at, but it got smaller. My dad said it is probably just a swollen lymph node and I shoulnt worry. But it is still there. But, it is small. I am still worried about it. 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/14/10 1:56pm

Hi Megan - If this is decreasing in size, that's a good indication that it was probably an infection. However, if it stops decreasing, and remains the same size for another week or so, best to get it examined and diagnosed by a doctor, OK? It's probably nothing to worry about, but you always need to rule cancer out in the case of armpit or breast lumps. Good luck - PJH

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worried, Community Member
7/25/10 5:36am

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I just found a small painless lump on my armpit a few weeks ago as well. I gave it a few weeks, and after noting no change, I made an appointment with my doctor, who referred to a radiologist to have an ultrasound on it. I'm currently awaiting the results. I'm only 22, but I worry that it may be breast cancer (or an enlarged lymph node indicating the presence of breast cancer). My mom had breast cancer, my great-grandmother had breast cancer, I am Caucasian and I got my period early (at age 11), have had no kids, etc., so I realize that I am at higher risk than the average person .The tech who performed the ultrasound said I should press my doctor to allow me to have mammogram done too, given my family history, even if the results come back negative for cancer. I since talked to my friend who administers mammograms, and she told me that they are rarely done on women under 30 since the low-level radiation can be harmful (especially to one's ovaries). Potentially compromising my ability to have children is what is worrying me the most. Advice?

 

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worried, Community Member
7/25/10 5:38am

Sorry, ignore the above. I'm going to try again:

 

I just found a small painless lump on my armpit a few weeks ago as well. I gave it a few weeks, and after noting no change, I made an appointment with my doctor, who referred to a radiologist to have an ultrasound on it. I'm currently awaiting the results. I'm only 22, but I worry that it may be breast cancer (or an enlarged lymph node indicating the presence of breast cancer). My mom had breast cancer, my great-grandmother had breast cancer, I am Caucasian and I got my period early (at age 11), have had no kids, etc., so I realize that I am at higher risk than the average person .The tech who performed the ultrasound said I should press my doctor to allow me to have mammogram done too, given my family history, even if the results come back negative for cancer. I since talked to my friend who administers mammograms, and she told me that they are rarely done on women under 30 since the low-level radiation can be harmful (especially to one's ovaries). Potentially compromising my ability to have children is what is worrying me the most. Advice?

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/25/10 6:29am

Hi - I'd suggest you not get ahead of yourself here; let's see if the ultrasound identifies what the lump is, first. At age 22, your chance of having breast cancer is very, VERY slim; statistically speaking, this will turn out to be something else: a lymph node enlarged by infection, for instance. Or a fibroadenoma (harmless overgrowth of tissue).

 

If the ultrasound is inconclusive, then you'd want to pursue the lump further; perhaps with a fine needle biopsy. Given your family history, your risk is elevated, though it's still very low; so don't let the doctor directing your diagnosis tell you "We don't know what it is but it's probably nothing." Insist on fidning out what it is.

 

As for mammogram, regular mammograms beginning at a young age are probably not a good idea. However, if a mammogram seems warranted at this point to track down this particular diagnosis, I wouldn't worry about damaging your ovaries. Remember, millions and millions and MILLIONS of women have had mammograms and all kinds of other scans and X-rays, and had no problems with fertility. Best of luck - hope you figure out that this is nothing to worry about. PJH

 

 

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worried, Community Member
7/25/10 6:25pm

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I am feeling so much better about this. I'll be sure to post an update when I receive one. Smile

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/25/10 8:39pm

Thanks for staying in touch; I hope things work out well for you, and very soon! PJH

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worried, Community Member
7/29/10 10:32pm

The ultrasound results are back, and the physician's assistant informed me by phone that the lump appears to be an enlarged lymph node. She asked whether I'd noted any changes in size (I haven't), and told me to monitor it closely. She is going to speak to the doctor when he returns from vacation in five days and see what he would like to do.

 

I'm getting pretty worried again. What causes are there for lymph nodes of the axilla? I understand (or have read) that they can be symptomatic of a number of things ranging from a rather harmless infection to something more serious (breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, etc.). I haven't been ill (or had any symptoms of illness that I am aware of).

 

I'd appreciate any information on this topic, including what types of follow-up tests might be performed to determine the root cause.

 

Thanks!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/30/10 4:07am

Hi - Since you've already read up on causes for lymph node swelling, I won't go into that. Testing might nivolve an ultrasound; perhaps an MRI; or a biopsy. The usual cause of swollen lymph nodes is an infection somewhere in your body, one you may not even be aware of; cancer is probably the least likely cause for this - especially at your young age. Not saying it's not a possibility; just saying it would be very unlikely. Sorry you're having to go with this, and with your family history I know you're worried; but all you can do is take it one day at a time, and try to distract yourself with work or other activities to take your mind off this. Also, please read our post on fear; it might help. Good luck - PJH

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worried, Community Member
7/30/10 10:17pm

Thank you!

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SD, Community Member
4/ 7/12 5:48am

Try taking 400 IU of vitamin E, 3 times a day. Just google "lump in armpit vitamin E" Hope you feel better soon!

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
4/ 7/12 10:08am
Dear SD, Thank you for writing in with your suggestion for armpit lumps. Vitamin E has many wonderful uses. I would suggest that people check with their doctor before starting any major supplementation. Vitamin E is one of the products my doctors wanted me to stop taking seven days before a surgical procedure, so it might be inappropriate for people with blood clotting issues. Although it can be safe to "wait and watch" an armpit lump if there is a possibility that it is a swollen lymph node fighting off a cold or routine infection, armpit lumps can be related to breast and other types of cancer, so they do need to be checked out by a doctor if home remedies don't work. Reply
strongnbrave, Community Member
8/ 2/11 10:17pm

I can't stress this enough is to please get it checked out by your doctor. In 2007 i had a small lump under my right armpit and waited bc i was too busy working and ignoring it. I knew it was there but thought it was fat hanging out of my bra. I finally went to get it checked out only because it has gotten bigger and very painful. I ended up having Non Hogkin's Lyphoma stage 4. The doctor said if would have waited any more longer I could have died of the cancer because it spreaded to my spleen. I learned a valuable lesson that go with your gut your body show you signs that something is wrong now i it beat cancer twice and think it has came back on me so please go and get it check it might save your life

 

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
8/ 3/11 6:10am

Thanks for sharing your experience with an armpit lump.  We often think first of breast cancer when there are swollen lymph nodes, but as your experience points out they can also be a sign of lymphoma.  I hope your new symptoms turn out to be something other than cancer.  You are indeed strong and brave to get through cancer twice.

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soccergirl, Community Member
8/ 6/11 11:56pm

Im 14 and i have the same lump. i woke up one morning and it wasnt so big. it looked like a bug bite. Then over the past few days it has gotten so big and it hurts like crazy. i dont know what it is but i am super scared. i cant even touch it and im afraid i might have to get it cured by like sticking a needle into it to get whatever that stuff that is in it out. i heard someone on a different website had that done and she had the same thing as me. i want to go to the doctor but i dont want to because i hate pain. i am not one bit a dare devil so i havnt really expienced much pain.Cry i really need help!!!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/ 7/11 6:21am

Hi - I' say you have a swollen lymph node, from an infection somewhere in your body (have you been sick lately?); or an infection of some kind right at the site. You need to see a doctor about this, so don't delay; infections need to be treated with antibiotics. Please show this to your mom, or whoever the responsible adult is who helps with your health care.

 

Not taking care of this because you're afraid of pain isn't reasonable; since it hurts now, it'll only hurt worse if you DON'T do something. Taking action will relieve the pain, AND your worry; so why not do it? Screw up your courage, show an adult, and do what you need to in order to get some relief. Action trumps worry any day; so, hard as it is - just do it. You'll be glad you did. Take care- PJH

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By Nanina, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/15/14, First Published: 07/18/08