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Swollen lymph nodes on neck. Have headaches, pain in throat, white spot on uvula. Is this cancer?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
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I have had swollen lymph nodes on the left side of my neck for about a year. In the last month I have been having headaches and pain on that side. It feels like my throat is not in the center of my neck. Today I discovered a single white spot on the tip of my uvula. Could this be cancer? I can't afford to go to the doctor right now and do not have insurance. I'm starting to get worried.

I feel that I should add that I have been a smoker for the last five years but have been cutting down recently.
Posted Fri, 8 Jun 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 1 hour later
hello and thanks for the query.
While pathogenic infections like Strep throat, common cold, infectious mononucleosis, upper respiratory infections, glandular fever tonsillitis and medical conditions like syphilis,tuberculosis,AIDS,rubella or toxoplasmosis  may cause enlargement of the nodes in neck, these nodes could sometimes be attributed to serious medical conditions like Mouth cancer, larynx cancer, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis or lymph node biopsy as well.

The treatment would vary depending on the underlying cause. If the swelling is due to a pathogenic infection, doctors would prescribe antibiotics. The use of anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers may also be recommended. Once the drugs begin to have the desired effect on the body, the infection would subside and the swelling would gradually disappear. However, extensive treatment would be required if serious conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, lymphoma or leukemia are responsible for causing enlargement of the nodes. If the diagnostic tests confirm the presence of malignant growth, the treatment would involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
If you ever notice a lump or swelling in the neck region, get a thorough medical checkup done immediately. While pathogenic infections can be easily treated, a timely diagnosis and extensive treatment is extremely essential when it comes to serious medical conditions like cancer.
Your headaches could be because of inflamed lymph nodes and white spot on the tip of uvula could be because of smoking and doesn't necessarily mean that it is cancer.
You must consult the doctor as you can't ignore it or delay it.
I hope to have answered your query however you can revert to me for any further query.
Thanks and best of luck.
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