Description and Possible Medical Problems
We’ve all been thoroughly trained to believe that any mass that suddenly appears anywhere on the body must be cancer, an attitude that often results in unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office. The good news is that if a mass suddenly appears on your sternum, it’s probably not a serious health problem.
This mass, called a xiphoid process, is actually a small area of the sternum that extends below the rib cage in the center. If you’ve recently lost a large amount of weight, you may suddenly feel a “mass” and think it’s a tumor. However, it’s actually been there all along. Others might become aware of it if they experience a trauma to the chest wall and the xiphoid process becomes bruised or inflamed.
If you’ve recently discovered your xiphoid process, you have nothing to worry about. If it is painful, Tylenol or Advil, taken four times a day or as needed, will work just fine.