QUESTION: I have had an area in left side of neck in under the jawline. I am a 47 yr old female and in good health. This has been there since I was 12 yrs old. No issues, no pain. I decided to May e get it removed and had an ultrasound. Findings were a 33mm Hypoechoic left neck mass and suggested CT scan. I have the appt but I am freaking out about cancer. Does Hypoechoic mean that it's cancer? Thanks for any help.
ANSWER: Hello, Rhonda.
Don't worry. Hypoechoic does NOT necessarily mean cancer. It's a medical term used to describe how the tissue looks with ultrasound:
"Echogenicity (misspelled sometimes as echogenecity) is the ability to bounce an echo, e.g. return the signal in ultrasound examinations. In other words, echogenicity is higher when the surface bouncing the sound echo reflects increased sound waves. Tissues that have higher echogenicity are called "hyperechogenic" and are usually represented with lighter colors on images in medical ultrasonography. In contrast, tissues with lower echogenicity are called "hypoechogenic" and are usually represented with darker colors. Areas that lack echogenicity are called "anechogenic" and are usually displayed as completely dark."
The CT will give more information about the lump, such as its vascularity and composition. You will know more about it after this test. Best of luck to you.
Hope this helps,
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QUESTION: Thank you very much for your quick response. It was very reassuring. Just one more quick thing. I am sending a couple images from the ultrasound as to show you what I am talking about.
First, I am not a physician, therefore not qualified to diagnose disease or interpret medical images. I am only the photographer, and I know next to nothing about Ultrasound. I am an MRI tech.
That said, this looks to me like a fluid filled mass, maybe a cyst or an enlarged lymph gland. But honestly, I couldn't say. Anyway, CT will give you a much better look at the composition of the lump.
Take comfort in knowing that if it were cancer, it would have been growing or changing over all these years. It is a good sign that it has been relatively stable since you were 12.