How Likely is an Armpit Lump to Be Cancer?

bumps on armpit in woman

In the complex world of health concerns, the discovery of an armpit lump can create an understandable sense of panic. Many might instantly jump to thoughts regarding the dreaded word: cancer. But how likely is an armpit lump actually to be cancer?

Probability of Cancer

Medical experts report that the likelihood of a lump in the armpit being cancerous is quite slim. The majority of such lumps are non-cancerous and are usually a result of less severe issues like infections or allergies. 

In their lifetime, many people go through one or more instances of having a lump in their armpit, and most of the time, these are benign occurrences. Nevertheless, it is still essential to not dismiss these lumps and instead have a medical professional assess them. 

Common Causes for Armpit Lumps

The armpit lumps that are most frequently not related to cancer are typically caused by: 

  1. Lipomas, benign fatty tissue growths.
  2. Infections, Swollen lymph nodes may occur as a result of infection, whether it be bacterial or viral in nature. 
  3. Allergic reactions often result in hives or cysts, appearing as lumps.
  4. Vaccinations can temporarily cause a lump under the armpit.
  5. Cysts are often harmless fluid-filled sacs that can develop under the skin.

When is a lump likely to be Cancerous?

Certain signs can suggest that an armpit lump is more likely to be cancerous. These include:

Information verified by the team.
Persistent LumpsIf lumps continue to persist for an extended period of time without any signs of a usual infection (like fever), this could be worrisome. 
Hard or Immovable LumpsTypically, soft lumps that can be easily moved are not as worrisome as hard lumps that cannot be moved. 
Accompanying SymptomsIf there is a lump along with discharge from the nipple, changes in the size or shape of the breast, or changes in the skin covering the breast or nipple, it might be a sign of breast cancer. 
History of CancerThose with a personal or family history of cancer should be more vigilant about armpit lumps.

Remember, these signs do not confirm cancer but merely indicate that medical evaluation is necessary.


Although it is common to be concerned about a lump in the armpit being indicative of cancer, it is crucial to keep in mind that the majority of lumps are benign and do not present a significant threat to one’s health. Nevertheless, it is imperative to have any new lumps or alterations to preexisting ones examined by a medical expert to exclude the possibility of any serious underlying issues. 

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