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What could be the cause for swollen glands in my neck?

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Oncologist
Practicing since : 2002
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2 months ago I noticed swollen gland and nodes in the back of my head and down my neck. I have had antibiotics which didn't help. Chest Xray was clear, blood tests show very low iron levels. Swellings are painless but uncomfortable and have not decreased at all. What will the hematologist be looking for? could this be something serious?
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Infections
 
 
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 4 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a good one and I will try to provide you with information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

What you are describing does certainly sound like the lymph nodes in your neck have become swollen and inflamed. Of course the first and most worrisome thing we think about with this type of symptom would be some type of cancer such as lymphoma. There are however other types of things which can cause swelling of lymph nodes.

Some things which can cause swelling of lymph nodes which are not malignant include viral syndromes as well as even eligible reactions or autoimmune disorders.

If you see a hematologist there'll be several things that he or she can look at in order to evaluate what is going on. The first thing which can be evaluated is a full length thorough review of your blood tests. In addition a physician can also look under the microscope to study your blood cells to look for any abnormalities. Next some blood tests might be done also to confirm that you do not have some type of virus such as the virus which causes mononucleosis. This can cause lymph node swelling and fatigue.

If there is no convincing evidence of what the exact cause is, a lymph node biopsy may sometimes be requested. This can give the hematologist more information regarding what is going on.

Also a special blood test call flow cytometry may be requested in order to study the function and populations of your white blood cells. This will give the hematologist even more information to make recommendations about your general health. I think right now things have to be taken one step at a time as it may take a few days for you to get some answers.

If you do have blood tests performed I would be happy to review them on your behalf and make some suggestions or recommendations based on my interpretation. I am sure though that you will be seeing a competent hematologist who will give you excellent recommendations.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you have found my answer to be both helpful and informative. If you have any additional questions I would be happy to address them.

Regards,

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What could be the cause for swollen glands in my neck? 27 hours later
But I am not losing weight, I have no fever and am generally feeling well, should I still be worried?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 4 hours later
Hello and thanks for the followup.

I don't think you have lymphoma and the fact you have none of those symptoms is more reassuring that this is a benign and likely inflammatory process.

Let me reassure you that you should not be overly concerned. It should be monitored to confirm resolution which i am sure you will experience in the coming weeks.

If you do have blood tests performed I would be happy to review them on your behalf and make some suggestions or recommendations based on my interpretation.

I thank you again for your query and hope my answer has served to be both helpful and informative. Should you have additional concerns I would be happy to address them.

Sincerely,

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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