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How can a painless hard lump behind left ear be treated in a Type 2 diabetic with family history of death bycancer ?

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Practicing since : 2002
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Yesterday I rested my head against my hand and felt a hard lump below my left ear, but on top of my jaw bone. It isn't painful, there is no discoloration, it isn't movable and it's about 1.5 cm in diameter. The skin moves freely above it. Any idea what it could be? I am 36, female, rarely drink, do not smoke, and have a high occurrence of cancer in my family. (grandmother had breast cancer twice, grand father died of adenocarcinoma, great grandmother had bone cancer, uncle died of adenocarcinoma, and another uncle is dying of bladder cancer). I don't have insurance, so I am trying to decide whether this is worth seeing my General Practice doctor right away. I am type 2 diabetic, but not on insulin. I started taking Victoza in May.
Posted Mon, 30 Apr 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 53 minutes later
Hello and thank you for your query.

What you are feeling is very likely a small lymph node. Most often lymph nodes in this area can swell in response to some kind of inflammation, a systemic infection, rash or even a dental infection. There are chains of lymph nodes which run in the area of the neck and wrap along behind and in front of the ear.

For an image which shows where these nodes are here is a link:
In your case this is not an emergency and the lymph node will likely slowly decrease in size over the next one to two weeks. Try not to press or disturb it for now as this can cause more local inflammation and persistence of the lymph node swelling.

If in 2 to 3 weeks the area is still there you can see your physician for an examination. I really doubt this will be the case for you.

So, in summary, this is not an emergent concern and I'd like you to try and feel reassured of this and try not to worry for the time being. Good habits of balanced diet, adequate rest and exercise - things we recommend for everyone should serve you well in this case to facilitate the resolution of this swollen lymph node.

Again I thank you for your query. I hope you found my response to be both helpful and informative. Should you have additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
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