Intermountain Health logo
Set location
Get care nowMake an appointmentSign in

LiVe Well

What if I find a lump in my arm or leg?

By Joan Jodie Miles MD

Nov 16, 2020


If you find a lump in your arm or leg, try not to worry. Benign growths are over nine times more common than cancer. But it's still important to evaluate a new growth with your doctor or healthcare provider.

The most common soft tissue lump is a lipoma or a fatty tumor. When these are close to the surface, a doctor can often tell by touch that it is composed of fat. These are typically painless and grow very slowly over time. Usually no treatment is necessary, but they can be removed by a surgeon if they are large or bothersome.

Deeper lumps can be harder to evaluate. If the mass is in a muscle, an MRI is often needed to determine if it’s a lipoma, cyst, or other type of abnormal growth, also known as a tumor.

See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms

  • A lump or mass in an arm or leg that is bigger than a golf ball
  • A lump that continues to grow over time
  • A lump that is more firm than normal fat
  • A lump that is not mobile
  • A lump that is not close to the skin surface

If you have specific cancer questions, contact us at Intermountain Cancer Center - Cancer Answers by calling 833-321-3332.

Because of her highly specialized area of expertise as an orthopedic oncologist, Dr. Miles sees patients mainly by referral. Appointments can be requested by calling 801-507-3632 or faxing referral information to 801-507-3898.

Jodie Miles, MD
Intermountain Cancer Center | Intermountain Medical Center
South Office Tower Bldg. 1
5171 Cottonwood Street, Suite 610
Murray, UT 84107