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A small immovable lump in left inguinal area. Is it a normal or cancerous lymph ?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
I have a small immovable lump in my left inguinal area. Roughly on top of my hip flexor, very superficial. I Noticed it last night. It's roughly the size of a pea. Possibly a lymph node? Have been feeling worn down lately. No fever or other cold symptoms. Also, nicked my skin shaving in that area which is now slightly infected. Wondering what the lump could be and How to tell a normal lump from a cancerous one... Thank you
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 4 hours later
Hello ,
Thanks for posting your query.
Considering the information you have provided the lump you have is most probably an enlarged inguinal lymph node due to a local skin infection or inflammation.
The points which diferentiate a benign lymph node from a malignant one are as follows,
1. Small size nodes in groins are quite commonly seen in adults and most commonly they do not represent a cancerous process.  (Small size refers to nodes smaller than 0.5 Cm or 1/4 of an inch in diameter) If such nodes are detected, the best approach is to follow them clinically, that is to examine them on a regular basis for their size and number.  If the size or the number is increasing in a short period of time, they should then be evaluated more thoroughly. Large size Lymph nodes in groin area, larger than 1 cm or half an inch or larger need further evaluation, especially if they are new and have grown to the size gradually.
2.Normally, benign lymph nodes grow and become enlarged in a short period of time, over a few days time frame. They normally do not get too big, unless there is a serious localized infection associated with the enlarged node. 
3.Cancerous lymph nodes grow slowly and continue to grow.  This normally takes place over weeks to months.  There is no limit as to how big they can get and this may be the only sign of a cancer. They normally are not painful and they may be mobile and can be pushed to move under the skin.
4.Cancer lymph nodes may be associated with other symptoms like generalised weakness,weight loss, recurrent infections, fever etc.

So as your lump is a small ,acute, lymph node and has associated history of local inflammation it's most likely it's not cancerous .
This is likely to resolve on its own in a week and if it persists or worsens i.e enlarges then kindly consult your doctor for apropriate a antibiotic therapy.
At present it does not seem to require any such treatment, although local mupirocin or fusidic acid application to the XXXXXXX might help in faster healing.
Hope I have answered your query.
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