Skin lumps are any abnormal bumps or swellings on the skin.
Most lumps and swellings are benign (not cancerous) and are harmless, especially the kind that feel soft and roll easily under the fingers (such as lipomas).
A lump or swelling that appears suddenly (over 24 to 48 hours) and is painful is usually caused by an injury or an infection.
Skin lumps from trauma can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Most other lumps should be looked at by your health care provider before you try any home treatments.
Call your provider if there is any unexplained lump or swelling.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, including:
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have an infection. If cancer is suspected or the diagnosis is not apparent on visual inspection, a biopsy may be done.
James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.
Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.
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