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Noticed a lump in armpit, having cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Should I go for biopsy?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I have a pea sized, fixed non movable lump that appears to sit just underneath a swollen lymph node in my right armpit. It is painless and has been present for about two months. I have no fever, it hasn't grown. I have other symptoms of note: increased production of phlegm and a hacking cough, chest tightness on the right side and shortness of breath on exertion. I am 53 years old and am a current smoker with a 26 pack year history. Should I have a biopsy? Are any of these things related? The only family member with a history of cancer is my 76 y/o mother who was diagnosed this year with mucinous breast cancer.
Posted Wed, 11 Dec 2013 in Skin Cancer
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Get consuted and evaluated! Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about this swollen lymph node in your right armpit and the chest symptoms that you have reported. From the information you have provided, I will strongly suggest that you get a complete clinical exam and do some tests to address this problem. These symptoms, reported finding(lymph node) and the 26packyears of tobacco warrants that we evaluate and exclude possible lung pathologies that may explain this. The lung should be a primary suspect here while at the same tome not forgetting the other structures like the breasts and bones/muscles. My suggestion is that you get an appointment and meet with your primary care doctor. After, a complete clinical exam(detailed breast and lung exams), you would most probably be asked a chest x-ray. Depending on the exam findings and the x-ray results, a biopsy may be warranted. However, jumping directly to conducting a biopsy without any preliminary findings would not be a very good idea. If the findings should suggest anything in the likes of a tumour, we should have an idea where it is coming from and not simply making the diagnosis. If you should require specialist care from these preliminary results, then your doctor would direct you to the doctor. I hope this addresses your query and provides enough information for you to act on. Thank you so much for using our services and please do feel free to ask for clarifications if need be. I wish you the very best of possible outcomes. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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Follow-up: Noticed a lump in armpit, having cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Should I go for biopsy? 5 minutes later
Is it more probable that these symptoms point in the direction of COPD or more in the direction of a tumor?
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 49 minutes later
Brief Answer: We need more information to conclude! Detailed Answer: If the finding of a swelling and non movabe lymph node in the right armpit is confirmed by a clinical exam by a physician, then this is more likely to be associated with a cancer than COPD. However, only a detailed exam and investigation can make the clear diagnosis. I will like to keep all the options on board so as not to miss any possible cause. I hope this helps. I wish you well. Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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