Medical Question: Lump at the top of the back

Or at least in that area. My mother says her boyfriend has a lump, about the size of her fist right below the neck, a little above the shoulder blades. She says it’s hard and unmovable. She basically wants enough information to talk him into going to the doctor. I tried searching, but didn’t come up with anything.

Any help would be appreciated.

How about telling him, “Honey, you have a giant lump in your back. You need to have this checked.”

I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, but why does she need information on what it might be? How about it’s a giant lump in a place where giant lumps are not normally present. Is she trying to convince him because he thinks it’s “nothing”?

Okay so this doesn’t answer your general question. I hope he does see a doctor.

What he possibly has is called a lipoma. It’s a fat cell tumor located just below the skin and is usually harmless. However, I can’t imagine ever having any kind of medical anomaly that you would want to have check out by a doctor.

I’ve had one for years. Doc told me not to worry about it, I haven’t, and have had no problems. A Doctor should always be consulted, though.

Lipomas are mobile, lieu.

To the OP: The only way to know is to consult a doc.

QtM, MD

Obviously QtM, M.D., doesn’t need me to confirm his medical data, but I thought lipomas were mobile too. And not hard. At least they weren’t on my dog, who had many of them in her old age - sort of slightly squishy is what they felt like to me.

A big hard lump would make me very concerned.

Eeeugh. Yes, get him to a doctor toute de suite. May be a tumor; whether it’s malignant or not can only be determined by biopsy. Could even be a bone projection. But he ought to haul his butt down there.

my lipoma (on the ribs) is hard, but mobile if thats any help

Eeeek, sorry and thanks Qadgop. I have what the OP describes on my right shoulder blade, stationary, and a doctor told me it was a lipoma.

Second medical opinion (from your friendly neighborhood pathologist): Ordinarily, lipomas are relatively soft and easily moveable. In some situations (trauma, continual irritation etc.) a lipoma could develop fibrosis or necrosis, calcify and be harder in consistency. As QtM said, the only way to know for sure is to get a medical checkup. One simple way to evaluate such a lump is to get a fine needle aspiration, which involves putting a skinny needle attached to a syringe into the mass and aspirating some of the contents which are then expressed onto a slide and looked at microscopically, similar to a Pap smear. This is a good technique for diagnosing cysts, tumors and other superficial masses (deep ones can be aspirated under radiologic guidance).

Another thought: No matter what it is, who could possibly want to go around with a fist-sized lump on their back? There are people in deep denial or who have major fear of doctors who refuse to get such things removed, but in terms of health consequences and cosmetic appearance, yecch.

Don’t forget those poor wretches who can’t afford it. If you have a lump like this and it’s not killing you, you might be in a position where you just have to live with it. :wink:

How would he know it’s not killing him? He might have to live with it, but for how long? There are resources available if you don’t have the money, county hospitals, for example. DDS can help.

I meant DSS: Dept. of Social Services, not DDS (Dept. of Disability Services).