A lump under the chin can have many causes, such as swollen lymph nodes, cysts, hives, or other conditions. Swollen lymph nodes are often a sign of a viral or bacterial infection.

A lump can appear anywhere in the soft area under the chin and jawline. The lump may be large, small, firm, or soft, depending on the cause. The surrounding skin may feel tight and tender, or even painful.

Read on to learn more about the causes and treatments for a lump under the chin.

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Many conditions can cause a lump to form beneath the chin. These include:

This is not a comprehensive list. The following sections look at some of these causes in more detail.

Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. They filter and drain a fluid known as lymph. This fluid contains white blood cells, which fight infections, and waste products.

Lymph nodes are usually small, but they can swell as part of the immune response. If lymph nodes around the neck and jaw swell, it may feel like a lump under the chin. The node may be tender to touch, and it will be soft and flexible.

Infections are a common cause for lymph node swelling. Some examples include:

If the cause is an infection, the swelling should go away within 1–2 weeks. However, lymph nodes can also swell for other reasons, such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.

If lymph nodes swell but do not get better on their own, speak with a doctor.

A benign growth may cause a lump to form under the chin. These growths are not cancer, but they may have a similar look or feel in some cases.

Some examples of benign growths include:

  • Cysts: A cyst is a sac filled with fluid or debris. They can form when sebaceous glands in the skin, which produce oil, become blocked or infected. Cysts can occur anywhere, but they often affect the face or neck. They can go away on their own, but occasionally, doctors may recommend surgical removal.
  • Lipomas: Lipomas are growths of fat cells under the skin. A lipoma lump will be soft and move easily. Lipomas tend to grow very slowly, have low potential to become cancerous, and will usually cause no other symptoms.
  • Dermatofibromas: A fibroma is a round lump of fibrous tissue. They appear as small nodules that are pink or light brown in lighter skin, and darker brown in darker skin. They usually cause no other symptoms, and their cause is not always clear. Sometimes, they appear after a minor injury, such as a bug bite.

Cancer may cause a lump to form under the chin if they affect the skin, lymph nodes, thyroid, or salivary glands in this area. Some examples of cancers that may do this include:

However, any type of cancer can potentially spread to the area under the chin as it progresses.

Cancerous lumps are typically hard to the touch and do not move around under the skin when a person presses them. They are usually painless, but there may be pain in the area if the lump is touching any nerves. Sometimes, a person may feel partial numbness or tingling in the area.

A lump may be the only symptom a person has. Other potential symptoms of cancer include:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • unexplained fatigue
  • fever
  • night sweats
  • a mole that grows in size, or changes shape or color
  • feeling as though there is a lump in the throat
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • vocal changes or hoarseness
  • lumps in other areas near lymph nodes, such as the testicles, breasts, or armpits
  • cysts that grow back rapidly after removal or drainage

A doctor may suggest a biopsy to determine if the lump is benign or cancerous. The type and location of the cancer, as well as how advanced it is, will inform the treatment options they recommend. This could include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiation.

Because there are so many potential causes for lumps under the chin, people who have this symptom for more than a few weeks should consult a doctor. They can perform tests to identify the cause and create a plan for treatment.

If a person has symptoms of a minor infection, such as a cold, a consultation with a doctor may not be necessary. Swollen lymph nodes as a result of infection will usually return to their usual size by themselves.

How do you relieve lymph node pain under your jaw?

To relieve lymph node pain, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Applying a warm compress to the area may also help.

How long do swollen lymph nodes under jaw last?

Swollen lymph nodes can last 1–2 weeks depending on the cause. If swelling continues longer than 2 weeks, talk with a doctor who may recommend tests to determine the cause.

Where do you feel pain with lymphoma?

The most common symptoms of non Hodgkin lymphoma are pain and swelling in the lymph nodes. This may be more apparent in lymph nodes close to the skin’s surface, such as those in the neck, underarms, and groin.

A lump under the chin may occur due to an infection, which may lead to swollen lymph nodes. Alternatively, the lump could be a bug bite, cyst, boil, or benign growth, among many other potential causes. Less commonly, lumps under the chin may be a sign of cancer.

Some conditions that cause lumps to form under the chin require medical treatment. Contact a doctor for a diagnosis if this symptom persists for more than a few weeks, or if there are other unusual or concerning symptoms.