New Guideline Aims to Help Doctors Diagnose Head, Neck Masses

Neck masses are common in adults, but the cause is often hard to pinpoint. Now, doctors have a new guideline to help them make that call.

The guideline from the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery dovetails with a rise in head and neck cancers related to the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV).

“A neck mass may indicate a serious medical problem. It does not mean the patient has cancer, but it does mean they need more medical evaluation to make a diagnosis,” said Dr. M. Boyd Gillespie, assistant chairman of the group that developed the guideline.

In an academy news release, he called the new guideline “an important instrument for the early diagnosis and treatment.”