It is common to have lumps under the skin. Most of these are small and do not require any intervention, though sometimes if lumps become larger they may cause discomfort or be concerning for cancer. Your first port of call is your family doctor – they will usually identify simple and common lumps such as skin cysts and lipomas (benign fat growths). If your family doctor is concerned (we usually recommend a specialist review of any lump larger than a golf ball), specialist referral is warranted.
Features of lumps that may suggest cancer include:
If your family doctor is concerned that the lump may be a soft tissue cancer (sarcoma), there is a preferred pathway to follow with imaging (ultrasound or MRI) and targeted biopsy (called a core biopsy, usually performed under ultrasound guidance) before any surgery is undertaken. This is because the choice of surgery (or other treatments) may be quite different depending on the nature of the lump.
Fortunately, 90% of lumps that we investigate are not cancerous (benign) and may be managed with simple surgical removal. When soft tissue cancer (sarcoma) is confirmed, your care will be discussed with other specialists in a multi-disciplinary team (many heads are better than one in this situation).
The plastic surgeons at Plastic Surgery Central have extra training in the management of soft tissue cancer (sarcoma) including the reconstructive surgery that is often required. Dr Roger Woods helped to write the National clinical guidelines or the care of Sarcoma with the Cancer Council of Australia, and was lead author in the Reconstructive surgery area.
You can be reassured that we have the expertise and team to support you or your loved one through this complex condition.
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Please be aware that all surgical procedures require a consultation with our plastic surgeons to allow a thorough assessment and discussion of your specific needs.