If you have a lump, it’s important to be aware of any changes that may occur, so that you can keep your GP informed of your symptoms.
You can keep an eye on any changes to your lump by measuring and tracking it.
One of the most common symptoms of sarcoma is a lump which is growing, changing, or bigger than a golf ball. However, it’s important to note that if you have a lump, it doesn’t mean you have sarcoma. Sarcoma is very rare, and most lumps and pains will not be sarcoma. You should stay aware of any changes regardless to make sure that you get an accurate diagnosis.
How to measure your lump
You can measure your lump at home by following these instructions – you do not need any specific training.
- Place a tape measure over the longest part of the lump, and write the measurement down
- Take a photograph of the lump (and try to take it from the same angle as any previous photos)
If you’ve found a lump that’s hard to reach, you could ask a friend or family member for their help with measuring it.
When to measure
You should measure your lump around once a month. You should also try to measure it at the same time of day each time.
You should try to get used to checking regularly and try to look out for anything that’s new or different about your lump.
You could set a reminder or put it on your calendar for the same time each month to remind yourself to measure the lump. It may be useful to think of it like keeping a diary. You can download a template for tracking any measurements/changes here.
If you notice any major changes in between months, make a note of them – don’t feel like you have to wait until the month is up.
Changes to look and feel for
See your GP if you notice a change
- Get any new or unusual changes checked by a GP
- Try to use certain terms when describing your symptoms – phrases like “new lump”, “increasing in size”, “rapidly” (if applicable to you), as it may help your GP to understand your symptoms and give you a more accurate diagnosis
What will happen when I see my GP?
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, your appointment may be over the phone. If possible, push to see your GP in person.
If your appointment is in person, your GP will examine your lump.
After speaking to you on the phone, or examining your lump, your GP may:
- Decide there’s no need for further investigation
- Ask to see you again after a short time
- Refer you to a clinic
Being referred to a clinic does not mean you have sarcoma, just that further assessment is needed to find out what is going on.
If your GP is male and you do not feel comfortable going to see him, you can ask if there’s a female doctor or practice nurse available. You can also ask for a female nurse or member of staff to be present during your examination, or you can take a friend or relative with you – but make sure to check that you will be able to do this.