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Enlarged lymph node in scrotum, rubbing causes itching. Family history of cancer. Anything to be concerned about?

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Practicing since : 2002
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Chronically enlarged lymph node near the base of left scrotum & medial to inguinal lineI have had this issue for 17-18 years now, but it has only bothered me within the past 2 years. I have a slightly enlarged lymph node at the bottom/base of the left scrotum just medial to the inguinal line/crease. It has always been painless and it would chronically enlarge and then decrease to a minuscule size over the course of 17-18 years. But within the past couple years it has become itchy and slightly tender upon palpation. And the skin directly above the node now becomes inflamed, like a blister, and filled with fluid (water & blood). And then the skin bursts, oozes and heals again in a few days. This process repeats itself over and over again. It has come to the point where its aggravating me because activities such as bike riding cause it to rub and become enlarged & itchy. I am worried about cancer given my family history—mother & aunt (breast cancer), two uncles (prostate cancer).

Is this anything to be concerned about? Please advise.

Posted Sun, 29 Apr 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later
Hello and thanks for the query.

First of all I would like to reassure you that the family history of breast and prostate cancer really would have no relation to what is going on in your case.

From the history you have provided you are dealing with something which has been quite chronic but that has changed in severity more recently. Usually chronic issues such as that which you describe are not malignant.

Along the lines of determining the cause of this I really think a tissue diagnosis needs to be rendered. The best way to obtain tissue is with either a tiny needle aspiration of the lymph node or with a surgical resection of the lymph node. A pathologist can then examine the tissue and possibly stain the tissue for special cellular markers to further define the nature of the swelling.

I suspect this is more of an inflammatory process which comes and goes from time to time. When the inflammation peaks the more symptomatic swelling and or pain in my opinion.

I would suggest that you discuss the possibility of a biopsy with your radiologist or a surgeon. A skilled pathologist can then give us a definitive diagnosis.

I thank you again for the query and hope my response has been helpful and informative. Again I do not think this is a malignant condition but I think it does warrant further investigation. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Enlarged lymph node in scrotum, rubbing causes itching. Family history of cancer. Anything to be concerned about? 10 hours later
Could it be a blocked pore/sebaceous gland since the node is directly beneath the skin. And the node becomes infected? What are all the possibilities?
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 12 hours later
Hello and thank you for the follow up question.

It is certainly possible that the area which you have been dealing with is not necessarily a lymph node. It is possible that this could be a blocked pore. Sometimes we refer to these as sebaceous cyst.

Sebaceous cyst can sometimes become infected and painful. This is caused by a buildup of sebaceous material around the base of the hair follicle. When the material builds up a can become infected and painful.

It is very important that in order to determine the exact cause of what we're dealing with that you have a good and thorough physical examination by a skilled physician. If the physician is not able to determine that this is a cyst then you might be referred for a biopsy.

Again I thank you for submitting your question. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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