If you’ve found a lump under your armpit, it is important to contact your doctor. While it could potentially indicate cancer is present, it is far more likely to be a benign condition like an infection, allergy, or a cyst.
An Armpit Lump is Rarely Cancerous
A lump under the armpit may be related to swelling of the lymph nodes. In the body, lymph nodes act like filters that catch things your body doesn’t want—like germs. Swelling in the lymph node area may indicate that your body has identified an infection and is trying to fight it. Finding a lump under the armpit is common for some bacterial and viral infections. In that case, a round of antibiotics is usually all that is needed to treat the lump.
Accurate Diagnosis is Important
Although a lump in your armpit isn’t likely to be a sign of breast cancer, it is very important to have it checked out and get all tests that are recommended by your doctor. The lump could be a tumor, because breast tissue can actually extend all the way out to the armpit. Or the lump could also be due to swollen lymph nodes that are attempting to filter out cancer cells.
Meeting with Your Doctor
Your doctor will conduct an exam and ask you questions about your symptoms. Before you visit your doctor, write down what you notice about the lump and any other symptoms you may be having, even if they seem unrelated. Your doctor may ask you some of these questions:
- When did you first notice the lump under your armpit?
- Has it changed in any way? (bigger, smaller)
- Is it painful?
- Is there anything that makes it worse?
- Have you had a vaccine recently? (Some lumps may be the result of an adverse reaction to a vaccine.)
Additional Imaging Tests
Your doctor may recommend an imaging study, such as a mammogram or ultrasound, if more information is necessary to make a diagnosis. At The Breast Center of Maple Grove, diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds are offered in a relaxing and comfortable environment, and results are provided on the same day.
If you found a lump under your armpit, contact your doctor first. If additional imaging is necessary to make a diagnosis, contact the compassionate physicians and technologists at The Breast Center of Maple Grove to schedule your exam.