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Headach and lump on head

Within the last week my wife has developed a golf ball type hard lump on the top of head (towards the back). She never suffers from headaches but has so ever since the lump appeared just over a week ago. I am very worried and she went to docs this morning and they said they couldn't feel anything. I had a feeling she would be fobbed off but the headaches worry me. Can you help please?

30 September 2019

Thank you for our question, we are sorry that your wife has developed this lump on her head and that she has also been suffering with headaches.

There are many different conditions that cause a lump to appear on the head which we have listed for you below, however these are not commonly accompanied by a headache.

1. Skin Cysts

These can appear anywhere on the body and are little pockets of tissue under the skin that become filled with pus, fluid or skin matter as a result of infection or due to the sebaceous gland becoming blocked. The appearance of these are generally smooth to touch and painless and develop over a gradual period of time. These cysts are generally treated by draining of the cyst or by the use of antibacterial creams or lotions. These are usually not cancerous.

2. Sebaceous Cyst

This is where a cyst develops by a hair follicle. These are often painful on touch and a dark area is visible on the skin surface. Treatment often involves antibiotic creams and removal of the cyst to prevent it returning. Discharge from these cysts often have the appearance of a cheesy white fluid.

3. Folliculitis

This is inflammation of the follicles due to infection or chemical reaction and is quite common on the face. The area affected is usually red in appearance and pimple like and may include hairs in the centre of the pimple. The skin around the area may also be itchy. Treatment usually involves using antibiotics and antifungal medications but maintaining good hygiene and reducing chemical use eg hair gels, can help too.

4. Lipomas

This is where there is a fatty deposit under the skin. These are smooth to touch and are harmless and generally do not need treating.

  1. Melanoma - This is a type of skin cancer. The appearance of this is usually the presence of a new mole or the changing of appearance in a pre existing mole. These are usually irregular in shape, multi coloured, can bleed easily and be itchy.

  2. Non-melanoma skin cancer - This is where there is a lump or area of skin which is sore and fails to heal. The lump tends to grow and often becomes scaly and can become ulcerated and bleed easily.

We are very pleased that your wife has been to see the GP, however if you are both still feeling concerned and things are not improving, we would encourage you to go back and see them again. It may be worth clarifying with the GP whether or not they believe the lump is linked with the headaches. Depending on the size of the lump, it’s possible that your wife has been experiencing tension headaches. Regardless of whether the lump and headaches are linked, both should be investigated to your satisfaction.

As with any unusual headaches it’s important to know when they need emergency attention, so if your wife experiences a sudden onset of weakness, unsteady gait or numbness down one side, blurred or double vision then she should seek emergency medical attention immediately. However if the symptoms don’t worsen but still persist then again I would encourage you to re-visit the GP.

We hope that this information has been helpful and that your wife is feeling better very soon.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.  

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