Lumps

Lumps can appear anywhere on your body.

Most lumps are harmless. But it's important to see your GP if you're worried or the lump is still there after 2 weeks.

Most lumps are normal

Most people get lumps and growths on their skin at some point.

They can:

  • be soft or hard to touch
  • move around
  • be the size of a pea or a golf ball
  • be a lump under the skin or a growth that hangs off your skin

Many things can cause lumps.

Causes of lumps

There are lots of possible causes of lumps and growths.

Your symptoms might give you an idea of what’s causing it, but do not self-diagnose.

See a GP if you're worried or the lump is still there after 2 weeks.

Lumps anywhere on the body

Possible causes of lumps on your body include:

  • skin tags – a small, fleshy growth on the skin
  • lipomas – a soft, squashy lump that moves
  • skin cysts – a hard lump that moves
  • skin abscesses – a hard, painful lump with a high temperature

Lumps on the armpit, neck or groin

Possible causes of lumps on your armpit, neck or groin include:

  • swollen glands – swelling on the side of the neck, armpit or groin
  • hernia – a lump in the groin
  • goitre – a lump on the front of the neck
  • genital warts – fleshy growths around the groin
  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma – swelling on the side of the neck, armpit or groin that does not go down

Lumps around the bottom

Possible causes of lumps around the bottom include:

  • piles – a lump or lumps around the bottom (anus), often with itching or pain
  • rectal prolapse – a lump on the bottom (anus) and the need to do a poo

Lump on the breast or testicle

There are a number of possible causes for lumps on the breast or on the testicles.

Contact your GP if you have a lump on your breast or testicle.

Lump on the hands

Possible causes of lumps on the hands include:

  • ganglion cysts – a smooth lump on the hand, wrist or finger
  • warts – a rough growth on the hand or finger

Non-urgent advice: See your GP if:

  • your lump gets bigger
  • your lump is painful, red or hot
  • your lump is hard and does not move
  • your lump lasts more than 2 weeks
  • a lump grows back after it's been removed
  • you have a lump in the breast or testicles
  • you have a swelling on the side of your neck, armpit or groin that does not go down

What happens at your appointment

Your GP will look at your lump. They may be able to tell you what's causing it.

If they're unsure, they might refer you to a hospital for tests. These can include a biopsy (where a very small sample of the lump is removed and tested) or an ultrasound scan.


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 13 April 2021
Next review due: 13 April 2024