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Head and Neck Cancer

Small lump on the back of the neck



I have a small, painless lump beneath the surface of the skin on the back of my neck, about an inch and a half below the base of my skull and an inch away from my spinal cord. It feels smooth and has a regular, spherical shape. The diameter is no greater than an eighth of an inch. It is not visible; I can only notice it by touch. I can roll it around without difficulty. I`m not entirely sure how long I`ve had it, at least several months and possibly a couple of years. During that period it has never changed size or become tender. About five years ago a slightly larger lump on my jaw was diagnosed as a sebaceous cyst, which is what I assumed this was, though I recently decided to seek an expert opinion. Thank you for your assistance.


This could be a sebaceous cyst, but it could also be a lot of other things. Lymph nodes are often found in that location. Fatty tumors as well as other tumors are also possible. It’s always a good idea to get any lumps or bumps checked out. It’s our recommendation that you make an appointment with your health care provider for evaluation.

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Response by:

Cheryl  Koliha-Brandt, MSN, RN, CNS, CORLN Cheryl Koliha-Brandt, MSN, RN, CNS, CORLN
Clinical Nurse Specialist and Instructor of
Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology 
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University

Pierre  Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS Pierre Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University