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Have had lump behind ear. Ultrasonography done. What are the chances of lymphoma. Should I be worried?

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Hi, I have had a lump behind my ear for at least 2+ years. It's not painful and my doctor said I should not worry about once it should be due an allergy or rhinitis. I did an ultrasonography 1 year ago and a 14mm lymphnode was found. Its size looks smaller right now. I believe I have it for a couple of years and I'm always worried about lymphoma possibility although I have not any other symptoms. Should I still be worried about it? Thanks
Posted Sun, 12 Aug 2012 in Lymphoma
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. This most likely a reactive lymph node.There are about 300 lymph nodes normally present in the head and neck region. They are normally not palpable. After enlarging during inflammation or infection they rarely regress to their normal size and then can be felt (palpated) but remain no-tender.

2. Lymphomas are rare tumors. Lymphomas are a large group of varied types of cancers and many are low grade. Such cancers which are detected early are treated with good results.

3. The best way to approach this concern is to first get a Neck USG (Ultrasound) done to identify the exact tissue which comprises the lump. This should preferably be done with a new generation 4D USG Scanner with Doppler. If the lump is suspected to be cancerous, a FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) will usually settle the diagnosis. An excision biopsy with tumor marker tests is very accurate. You may also get an otoscopy, an abdominal USG and a Chest X-ray done. This should be accompanied by routine blood tests.

4. Most cancers will have other constitutional symptoms such as weight loss, night sweats, unexplained fever, itching, multiple lumps and so on. Do you have any of these symptoms?

5. I must emphasize that if there are no other symptoms, then the chances of cancer are very low. You have a long standing solitary lymph node which seems to have reduced in size. Tumors or cancers do not reduce in size. Hence you should not worry.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.

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Follow-up: Have had lump behind ear. Ultrasonography done. What are the chances of lymphoma. Should I be worried? 29 minutes later
An Head and Neck specialist told me to not worry about it but I wanted to hear some others opinions. The Doctor said me a biopsy would not be necessary.
A couple of years ago I had an inflammation due to an earring and I think I have this lump since then. Besides this I had already problems with dandruff some years ago.
It's nice to see that lymph nodes rarely regress to their normal size. I Thought It had to be back at his normal size.
Thank you very much
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 9 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

1. Yes, you are correct. Metals such as Nickel in earrings commonly cause such allergic reactions.

2. Dandruff is also a leading cause of posterior triangle lymph node enlargement.

If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.

Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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