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How can you tell if a small lump is cancerous?
Dec 28, 1999

Dr. Feinberg,

I have a small lump in my groin area which my doctor has dismissed as a sebaceous cyst. However, because I have been misdiagnosed several times before with other ailments (including HIV/AIDS), I would like your opinion. How can you tell a canerous lump from a benign one?

Thank you!

Response from Dr. Feinberg

There are a number of clues from examining you that give your doctor information as to whether a lump is cancerous or not-- for example, its consistency, movability, tenderness, hardness, change over time, etc etc. Physicians can often be reasonably certain that a lump is or isn't cancerous if they're sufficiently experienced. That said, the only way to know for 100% certain is to have a needle or tissue biopsy.


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