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Having hard lump on neck below jawline. What are the chances of having cat scratch fever or a lymphoma?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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I have a large (between golf ball and large grape sized) stationary hard lump on the left side of my neck below my jawline. I have been exposed to 2 kittens that had fleas and I gave them baths and they were scratching and biting, so the Dr. is going to have a Cat Scan done....(no pun intended, lol) to see if it is cat scratch fever or a lymphoma . what is the difference, if any in how it would feel...what are the chances of either?

Posted Thu, 26 Jul 2012 in Lymphoma
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.

Lymph nodes are small (1-2cm) and bean-shaped nodes. they are very important to your body keeping you healthy. Lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Other causes include allergic reactions, arthritis, cancer, metabolic diseases, and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Soft nodes are most likely infection or inflammation, firm but rubbery nodes could be lymphoma and rock hard nodes are more likely from some other type of metastatic cancer not lymphoma. In cat scratch disease, the lymph nodes are more likely to be soft and in lymphomas, the swollen lymph nodes are more likely to be firm and rubbery.

Cat scratch disease presents with bump or blister at the site of scratch, fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Lymphomas present with unexplained weight loss, low grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, malaise and fatigue.

You should get a CT scan done as advised by your doctor. However the best test for confirmation of this lump is a FNAB (fine needle aspiration biopsy) of the lump which should be got done after consulting a physician. FNAB is aspiration of the material of the glands which is done by a fine gauge needle (22 or 25 gauge) and a syringe. Then the material is looked under the microscope to confirm the diagnosis.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us.

Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up query.

Wishing you good health.

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