A benign lump is a non-cancerous growth on any part of the body that can be felt from the outside. There are many types of benign lumps, which are classified according to where they grow. Common benign lumps include:
Sebaceous cyst – Formed out of the sebaceous gland which secretes oil (called sebum) to coat the skin, this is a fluid-filled lump within the skin that is often found on the face, neck and torso.
Lipoma – Grown from fat cells in the soft tissue of the body; this is usually a round, soft and movable lump that is often found on the upper body such as the back, neck, shoulders or arms.
Fibroadenoma – The most common benign lump found in the breast; this is a solid, smooth, rubbery and movable lump formed from lobules (milk-producing glands).
The cause of a benign lump is often unknown. Some can be hereditary, such as lipoma and fibroadenoma. Fibroadenoma has been linked to changes in the hormone oestrogen but the exact cause is not known. Lipoma can also be caused by trauma on the soft tissue, or hyperactivity of fat cells. Sebaceous cyst on the other hand is caused by damage or blockage of the sebaceous gland or duct; which can occur due to trauma or genetic conditions.
A benign lump generally presents no symptom beyond the feeling that there is a mass present. Usually there is no pain, but some people may feel pain depending on the size and location of the benign lump. Some benign lumps such as fibroadenoma and lipoma are mobile and can migrate, while sebaceous cyst may have a thick oily discharge.
A benign lump is removed cleanly through a minor surgical excision under local anaesthesia. The duration of the procedure range from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the size and number of lumps.
Post treatment care for surgical excision involves checking on the wound to ensure it is healing well. Patient is given oral painkiller and antibiotic for 3 days, while stitches are removed after 7 days. Scarring is minimal since it is a minor surgical procedure.
If a benign lump is properly removed through surgical excision it will not grow back on the same site. So if you get a benign lump again it will be on another site.