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Question:

Possible sebaceous cyst in the back of the head

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I've been searching around about my problem but the only thing that would come up would be either tumors that are cancerous and tumors that aren't cancerous. This is my problem. I've had this dent in the back of my head near the neck area. It's around 3 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. It's pushed in about a inch. It's soft and squishy when someone touches it. It hurts sometimes when I touch it. I'm only worried that it might have something to do with cancer because everyone has had cancer in my family. It's genetic. I just need an answer to this problem because it's been worrying me. Please take your time and hopefully you can answer this problem. Thank you in advance.


Answer:

Based on your description of the lump, it may correspond to a Sebaceous cyst, which most often arise from swollen hair follicles. Skin trauma can also induce a cyst to form. A sac of cells is created into which a protein called keratin is secreted. These cysts are usually found on the face, neck, and trunk. They are usually slow- growing, painless, freely movable lumps beneath the skin. Occasionally, however, a cyst will become inflamed and tender. The main symptom is usually a small, non-painful lump beneath the skin. If the lump becomes infected or swollen, other symptoms may include: local redness, tender and warm skin. Sebaceous cysts are not dangerous and can usually be ignored. Placing a warm moist cloth (compress) over the area may help the cyst drain and heal. If you have a small inflamed cyst, your doctor may inject it with a steroid medicine that reduces swelling. If the cyst becomes swollen, tender, or large, your doctor may drain it or perform surgery to remove it.


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