All my life I have a lump...
June 22, 2012 5:03 PM   Subscribe

YANMD, but help me decide if this is a benign cyst or a bigger problem

So this afternoon I noticed there was a hard lump in the flesh on my face. It's about an inch beneath the left corner of my mouth, and not externally visible, but if I pinch with one hand grabbing from inside my mouth I can feel it. It's not large (a quarter to half an inch, maybe), it feels smooth, there's no pain, and it moves around when I touch it. Friends and family who have had similar things in other parts of the body usually have it turn out to be a benign cyst or adenoma.

My question is, do I need to go to an urgent care clinic or something this weekend, or can I wait and see my doctor next week?
posted by nickhb to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Many insurance plans include a 24-hour nurse hotline. If you have insurance and your insurance has this kind of hotline, I'd call.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2012

Call the nurse line, if you have one. Or call your doctor's office, there will usually be someone on-call who can call you back.

When I called about a skin abscess that I was worried about, my doctor said "As a rule of thumb, bad things get worse, they don't stay the same." IOW, if it stays just like this, then you probably don't have to freak out; if it starts changing, particularly if it starts changing rapidly, then hie thee to the doc posthaste.
posted by KathrynT at 5:23 PM on June 22, 2012

I have the exact same thing and I first noticed it in the fifth grade. Benign or not (probably benign), this is not something for urgent care.

Nurse on nurse line is going to tell you what we are going to tell you: see your regular doctor next week.
posted by Fairchild at 5:32 PM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do you know what? I have several of those in that part of the face. It's sort of weird and slippy, right? Feels like it's closer to the inside of the mouth than the outside? Admittedly, I think I am lumpier than some folks, but every time I've asked a doctor about such a lump it has been not even worth investigating. As I understand it, a round and freely-moving lump in a random part of the body where there are not a lot of lymph nodes and where there tends not to be a specific organ to get en-cancerated would be a very unusual cancer presentation. And in the absence of heat or pain, it doesn't sound like an infection.

Obviously, IANAD and you can mention it to your doctor - but I wouldn't waste any time worrying about it before the doctor visit.

Actually, now that I think about it, I wonder if they could be related to youthful accidental self-biting trauma, because there seem to be several around my mouth but none elsewhere.
posted by Frowner at 5:54 PM on June 22, 2012

IANAD, but I personally wouldn't be worried if you only found it this afternoon - a few years ago I started getting get deep infections under the skin that would go away in a few days. After a few months I asked my doctor and she wasn't worried. Once I went on acne medication (solodyn) they stopped appearing.

Urgent care probably isn't necessary - you could probably wait for the doctor's appointment unless it gets worse.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 6:11 PM on June 22, 2012

Sounds like a mucocele. Not a big deal, and definitely something you can wait on.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:49 PM on June 22, 2012

Not urgent care, unless it noticeably, rapidly grows or changes shape, or there's pain, or something crazy. I wouldn't even go to the doctor unless it noticeably (slowly) grows/changes, although of course you can if it's necessary for your peace of mind. I personally would just keep an eye on it, like once a week "check lump on face" to make sure it was still the same or shrinking.
posted by anaelith at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

insectosaurus: Many insurance plans include a 24-hour nurse hotline. If you have insurance and your insurance has this kind of hotline, I'd call.
Many hospitals provide this service free-of-charge in the US, regardless of insurance. Just FYI; you should see a doctor, but I doubt it is a pressing emergency.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:04 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

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