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Q. I have a mild tender lump under the skin of the deltoid muscle. Is that sarcoma?

Answered by
Dr. Arvind Guru
and medically reviewed by Dr. Hemalatha
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 07, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am having a mild, tender bump or a lump or a kind of knot deep under the skin on the deltoid muscle. It is very hard to tell if it is moving under the skin. It has been there for three years. I have not noticed any significant growth in the last three years. I am quite scared after reading about sarcomas. I am 20 years old. Please help.

Dr. Arvind Guru

General Surgery Surgical Gastroenterology Surgical Oncology


Welcome to

I can understand the anxiety you would be suffering from after suspecting that it is a sarcoma. Here is what I can suggest to you:

Sarcoma is an uncommon cause of such lumps, and much more common are some harmless cysts and lipomas. Malignant tumors like sarcoma generally do not stay the same size for three years. Most malignant sarcomas in limbs are not associated with pain.

However, there is only one way to find out for sure and that is doing some tests on this lump. You have not mentioned the size of the lump. If it is small for about 1-2 cm in diameter, then it may be possible to take it out and test for malignant cells thoroughly. If it is larger, then an MRI scan and a needle core biopsy can be done to decide the treatment.

Whether it can directly be taken out or not will be decided by the size and exact location of the lump. Please send a picture with a scale measure by the side of the lump if you want to follow up.

Much more commonly, however, it is a cyst that can be easily taken out without any ill effects. To know if it is a cyst or not, your doctor needs to examine you and maybe, do an x-ray of the limb and an ultrasound examination of the site, but only if required.

For now, do not worry. Just see a good surgeon. Most likely, it is a lipoma or a cyst and not a tumor.

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