Suspicious lump near cervical spine: Possible cancer? I'm worried

Posted by blakesbaby1116 @blakesbaby1116, Nov 14, 2019

I am 26 years old and about two years ago I discovered a hard lump just to the right of my cervical spine in the back of my neck. I had to dig to feel it however now it’s more noticeable. I can just put my hand on my neck and feel it. It feels like a large part of my spine is sticking out on that side. It’s gotten bigger but I never got it rechecked because the first time I had it checked they did an x ray and the doc made me feel crazy and told me she didn’t feel anything even though my husband and mom both felt it. I have an appointment to get it rechecked next week but now I’m having cold sweats and night sweats to the point that my husband actually told me the other night that I am soaking the bed and I honestly didn’t think it was that noticeable. I had the depo shot about 3 months ago and so I’ve been trying to account everything for imbalanced hormones but it’s getting harder to do that. I’m not eating the way I should be and when I try to eat I end up taking a few bites and not wanting anymore. I’m already underweight as is and I’ve found myself so tired all the time. I never feel well and I’m taking care of my two kids and working as best I can. I’m just so scared. I feel like my spine could just be misaligned but it’s just that one spot in my neck and it feels so hard like bone. I just didn’t know if anybody could tell me what a cancerous mass should feel like. Does it feel like bone? Or is that too hard?

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@blakesbaby1116 Welcome to connect we aren't Dr,s but can help with what we can . You are so young to have such problems . You are smart to have a second opinion . Advocate for yourself you know your body then the Dr. I would suggest also you see a Endocrinologist if you aren't satisfied . I hope you are seeing another Dr. The one you talked about didn't seem to care We care here so I hope you let us know how you are doing.


Hi, @blakesbaby1116 – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad to see you've connected with @lioness. It would get my attention, too, if I was soaking the bed from night sweats, feeling tired all the time and was noticing a sensation like a large part of my spine was sticking out on one side.

I'd also like to introduce you to @personc @jenniferhunter @cowboy1997 @alpaca @cocodab @hopeful33250, who may have some input for you with the symptoms you've described and your concerns about the possibility of cancer.

Will you have it checked by the same doctor next week, or another one?


Hello @blakesbaby1116,

I can certainly understand your concern. Is your upcoming appointment with your general doctor, PCP, or an orthopedic specialist? If this bump on your neck has gotten bigger, it is important to have it reviewed again. Always remember that it is your right to get a second opinion if you don't feel that the doctor is taking your symptoms seriously.

It certainly could be something benign (not cancer) but it is important to have it checked out. There are probably many reasons for a bump to develop on your spine.

Do you have any neck or back pain, headaches or any problems walking?


@blakesbaby1116 I don't think anyone can tell you what cancer should feel like. I have had a hard muscle in my neck for years just to one side of my spine that is one of the spinal muscles connected to the spineous processes that sticks out to the side. It feels like a rock or a bone and it made me think my spine was out of alignment. I also have thoracic outlet syndrome that makes my neck tight, and I have been doing myofascial release therapy for a few years. My muscles were locked together by tight fascia, and now they move and I can now feel the separate muscles, but they still have a big knot in them. If you lay down on your back and put all those muscles on slack, you should be able to feel the spineous processes that stick out to each side. They have muscles attached to them at each level. You can feel if these are aligned with your fingers. If they are not aligned, that usually causes muscular headaches on the back and sides of your head and neck pain at the back base of your skull. I have had that happen because of muscle spasms, and I did have a spine injury years ago, that I recently had spine surgery for. I have been working with a physical therapist who taught me how to check this.

I saw a doctor about the diagnosis of TOS and he said that usually one side is tighter and the muscles get large. An MRI can determine if you have an enlarged muscle or some kind of mass, so I would encourage you to see a doctor and ask for MRI imaging. You may want to have a physical therapy evaluation from a PT who treat spine patients. It may not be anything to worry about, and could be caused by postural habits or an injury if you have had something like a whiplash. If that is what you have, then physical therapy and MFR can likely help. Doctors who understand TOS are hard to find. Look for them at teaching medical centers that list TOS as a condition that they treat. Mayo can evaluate this.

I know this is scary, but it's better not to imagine the worst in your mind and put yourself through all the misery and stress that fear causes. One day, I asked myself why I was doing that to myself. The mind is very powerful and you can start feeling pain and believing that something terrible is real and that raises your blood pressure and puts stress on your heart. That stress can cause disease over a longer period, so it is much better to take things one day at a time. Just remember that you eat an elephant one bite at a time….and I hope you are laughing now… but think about it, you have to take steps to figure out health related issues and sometimes doctors miss them or don't figure them out for a few years. I have been through that, and knowledge helps. As you advocate for yourself and learn more, you will feel more in control of your health. As you learn more, you'll know what kinds of things to watch for that can be symptoms that should be checked out. I had to face my biggest fears in the world to go through spine surgery for spinal cord compression and defeating my fears and having a great recovery changed my life profoundly. I am even planning to talk about my journey at my local library and I'm very excited about that, and I used to be so afraid that I was having panic attacks. So believe that fear can be defeated and that you have the ability to do that. Start asking yourself why you are afraid and what past life events might be triggering your fear. You were not born with fears, you learned them, and you can decide to unlearn them. There are lots of TEDtalks online about overcoming fears. I would also recommend 2 books from Mayo about building resilience by Dr. Sood, and I'll provide the links to those. I have them and they are very good.

Here are some links to information and our Connect discussion about Myofascial release.
Here is my patient story and I am here on Connect a lot.
Here is Dr. Sood who wrote the books about resilience.


Hi, @blakesbaby1116 – just wanted to check in and see how you are doing? How did your doctor appointment go?

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