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Noticed swollen lump behind ear. Is this the cause of concern?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
Answered : 6714 Questions
Yesterday I noticed a lump sort of behind my ear that hurts. Today I noticed another swollen area further down my neck. Of course, i am thinking lymph nodes. I feel fine, but I took my temperature (I am very scared right now) and it was 96.4. I don't know what to think.
Posted Mon, 8 Apr 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 2 hours later

Thanks for the query.

I understand your concern regarding these lumps, since there is strong family history of cancers behind you. Anybody may feel scared about it.

Although a possibility of cancer does exist, but the fact is that it is rare and generally these lumps are swollen lymph nodes because of some infection nearby.

The body has lymph nodes in different parts of the body. When you have an infection, the body sends blood cells to help fight the infection. The nodes nearest the infection can swell up and feel tender.

As the body kills off the bacteria or infection, the swelling will go down.

Similarly we have lymph nodes which are located on either side of the neck. They swell when we get a sore throat. The ones behind the ear can swell when there is an ear infection, abscessed tooth, sinus infection, cold.

If the swelling doesn't go down in another week you might consult a doctor to see if your body needs a little help fighting the infection, like some antibiotic.

At the moment just take some anti inflammatory like Ibuprofen 400 mg three times a day for few days and wait and watch or if there is lot of anxiety , you may straight away consult your doctor and get examined. An examination from a doctor and his assurance would help you soothe your nerves.

I hope it helps however you may revert to me for any further query.

Best of luck,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Noticed swollen lump behind ear. Is this the cause of concern? 9 hours later
Thank you for your answer. I wasn't particularly scared until I noticed the second one at least two inches further down my neck. I don't feel sick or anything and I think that is what has made me so nervous about I can not ever remember having swollen lymph nodes in my neck or behind my ear before, even with the flu, a cold, etc. Can I ask, if this is fairly have swollen lymph nodes fighting an infection that the individual is unaware they have?
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 15 minutes later

Sometimes it is possible that you may develop swollen lymph nodes without you being aware of presence of infection. But, to develop two swollen lymph nodes behind your ear, without any visible source of infection definitely looks little bit out of place. I definitely appreciate your concern and so in the present context, it becomes necessary that you do visit your doctor and get yourself examined and investigated.

Investigation may require blood investigations along with FNAC ( Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology ) or an excisional biopsy, if required.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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