Finding a lump on your body can be terrifying. However, the good news is that not all lumps are a sign of cancer. It could be that you have a Lipoma, the most common type of tumour to grow underneath the skin. While it is classed as a tumour, it isn’t harmful.
So, what is a Lipoma and how can you tell it apart from a cancerous tumour? Discover everything you need to know below…
What is a Lipoma?
A Lipoma is a fatty lump that develops within the soft tissue. It is estimated that 1 out of 1000 people will get a Lipoma at some stage in their lives. They are commonly found on the thighs, upper body, and arms.
It isn’t known what causes a Lipoma to develop. However, it is known to be genetically linked and more prominent in those who are middle-aged.
Lipoma symptoms to watch out for
If you have a Lipoma, you’ll notice the following symptoms:
- The lump will be small and soft
- It moves easily under the skin when you touch it
- It won’t cause you pain
- The lump will be just underneath the skin
Most Lipomas are less than 2 inches in diameter. However, it is possible for them to grow larger. You may also notice you have more than one at a time. Perhaps the most important factor to look out for is whether it is soft and easily movable. Cancer lumps are typically very hard, and you won’t be able to move them with finger pressure alone.
Most of the time Lipomas are also painless. However, as they grow, they may push on nearby blood vessels or nerves. Although these symptoms do suggest that you have a Lipoma and nothing more serious, it is still extremely important to get any lump checked out by the doctor.
Diagnosing a Lipoma
A physical exam is usually all that is needed to diagnose a Lipoma. However, in some cases, a biopsy may need to be carried out. This involves removing a small part of the lump before it is analysed under a microscope. Other tests such as ultrasound, MRI’s and sometimes CT scans may also help to diagnose a Lipoma.
If you are diagnosed with Lipoma, you won’t necessarily need treatment. However, the tumour won’t just magically go away. Therefore, if it is causing cosmetic issues, you can choose to have it removed.
All lumps should be diagnosed as quickly as possible. That way, if it does turn out to be something more harmful, treatment can be undertaken quickly. So if you have a lump that is over 5cm in diameter, book a visit to the One-Stop Lump Clinic with Mr Smith (with or without a letter from your GP).
Go to – https://surgicaloncology.co.uk/one-stop-cancer-clinic/ and use the form here to give us more information about the lump and any symptoms you are experiencing. Then we can arrange an Ultrasound or MRI in either the Chelsea Outpatient Centre or the Chiswick Medical Centre.