4 Symptoms That Indicate an Armpit Lump Might Be Cancerous

May 7th 2016

Changes in Size

A medical professional should assess any armpit lump that changes in size. Lumps associated with fatty tissues within the armpit or a cyst typically maintain a particular size. Armpit lumps that continue to swell or grow can signal a tumor that may or may not be cancerous.

Hard, Immovable Lump

A skin infection often produces lumps that are tender to the touch, soft and movable. A hard lump in the armpit that does not move underneath the skin should be evaluated because it has the potential to develop into a more severe infection. It could also indicate the presence of a tumor.

Longevity of a Lump

Bumps near the breast or in the armpit that are caused by cysts, an infection, shaving or a reaction to deodorant often heal after a few days or weeks. Armpit lumps that are persistent and do not heal or decrease in size for a longer period of time should be assessed by a medical professional.

Additional Lumps

Breast tissue can extend up into the armpit region to produce lumps in the armpit area, a fairly common occurrence. Multiple hard lumps extending toward the breast that do not decrease in size or disappear after a few weeks may indicate the need for medical evaluation. A hard, enlarged lump near the breast or armpit does not always indicate a tumor. However, patients should take precaution and have the lump assessed by a medical professional to rule out infections or disease.


Men and women can develop an armpit lump for a variety of reasons. Armpit lumps, or enlargements of one or both of the lymph nodes under the arm, can be cancerous, but may also be an indication of a viral infection such as shingles or chickenpox, a skin irritation stemming from shaving, an allergic reaction to deodorant or other products, or a cyst or boil. Individuals with an existing armpit lump should know the symptoms that could indicate cancerous cells and consult with a medical professional as soon as possible to evaluate the enlargement.

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