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Swollen, painful neck glands, stiff neck, sinus, loss of hearing, throat lump, headache

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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i have been dealing with swollen and painful neck glands for a yr now,also stiff neck, have seen doctor always treated for sinus infection. loss of hearing started about 5 months ago in left ear, pain also in left ear, lump in throat whichs causes choking, went to er about 5 wks ago with pain on left side of head, for 3 wks had headache, did cat scan without contrast of brain and sinus, was told it was ok, now i have a lump on roof of mouth, question is, if i had any type of cancer wouldnt have shown up on scan
Sat, 19 May 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.

From the symptoms that you have described, a CT scan without contrast of the brain and sinuses is not enough to rule out any malignancy. You are having swollen neck glands and if there is any associated malignancy then it will show up on CT scan of the head only when the brain is involved in metastasis (spread) of the malignancy or when the primary malignancy is lying in the brain causing brain tumor. These two will show up on CT head and not otherwise.

Two possibilities that are coming to my mind are:
1)     Middle ear or inner ear infections
2)     Any malignancy of the ear or throat

To rule out both these conditions, you need to get an examination done by an otoscope (for middle ear infections) and a FNAB (fine needle aspiration biopsy) of the lymph nodes and swollen glands. FNAB is aspiration of the material of the glands which is done by a fine gauge needle (22 or 25 gauge) and a syringe. This will confirm the diagnosis as swollen neck glands are often caused by an infection, allergic reactions, cancer, metabolic diseases, and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). It is one of the best diagnostic tests for detection of any malignancy.

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

Wishing you good health.

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