One of the commonest causes of a neck lump is a lymph node swelling. Lymph nodes act as filters for disease in the body. They therefore swell up and become tender when there is an infection or disease in the part of the body that those lymph nodes are responsible for. Conditions like glandular fever, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, HIV infection and fungal infections may all cause lymph node enlargement.
Most lymph node swellings are a reaction to infection (and therefore usually harmless) but a history of the swelling put in context of the person’s medical history is needed to decide on the likely cause of a lymph node swelling. Smoking and high alcohol consumption increase suspicion about cancer but an ultrasound scan and/or a needle test may be required to arrive at a diagnosis. Mr Olarinde runs a weekly multidisciplinary (with several other specialists) neck lump clinic in his NHS practice. This clinic is a screening clinic where patients with suspected cancer are quickly identified and investigated. Mr Olarinde’s specialist interest is in treating head and neck disease (both cancerous and non cancerous disease). He has developed the expertise to appropriately investigate and treat different kinds of neck lumps.