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Having pain behind ear and noticed swollen posterior cervical lymph nodes. Do I have lymphoma?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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hello..about 9 months ago i noticed a swollen lymph node in the posterior left cervical area of my neck...lately i noticed that the lymph or muscles on that side are tensed.thay move but not like the other side.i dont know if it has to do with muscle or lymph nodes..the lump is shaped in an oblong shape would guess 1.5 cm.i also have pain behind the ear bone in the same side..what could it be?could this be related?i had several problems with tooth infections over the years but that wouldn affect the posterior cervical area so i dont really know.I also have a dry cough for several days..could be from allergies.i would like to know what could it be as i am scared i have lymphoma.
Posted Sat, 23 Mar 2013 in Lymphoma
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Posterior triangle (Level 5) lymph nodes are usually not a cause for worry.

2. The best way to determine whether the lump is a lymph node or muscle is to get a USG (Sonography) with a Doppler study of the Neck done.

3. Since the size is about, an FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) will accurately identify the tissue. It will also be possible to rule out any Lymphoma. Rarer causes include benign tumors, cysts, lipomas and so on.

4. Posterior triangle lymph nodes are usually reactive nodes due to benign causes like infections of the scalp and neck including dandruff. Do you wear any jewelry continuously? Contaminants like Nickel and Chromium may cause non-specific lymphadenitis.

5. A lymphoma will also have other symptoms such as fever, weight loss, night sweats, fatigue and so on. In case of doubt, a lymph node biopsy and blood tests can conclusively rule out lymphomas.

6. If the lump is suspected to be a muscle spasm, get Cervical spine X-rays done.

7. The pain in the neck and cough may be related to allergy. An ear examination and chest auscultation will help.

8. You are correct in saying that dental infections are unlikely to cause posterior triangle lymph node enlargement. However, there are about 300 lymph nodes normally present in the head and neck region and they have complex interconnections.

I would like to emphasize that at your age, there is more likelihood of a benign cause. I normally recommend investigation so as not to miss out any potential cause and to alleviate any concerns.

Hope this answers your query. Should you have any additional concerns, I will be glad to assist you further.

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