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What causes enlarged lymph in neck and is it a serious concern?

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Oncologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 59 Questions
Hello, a few weeks ago I noticed an enlarged lymph node in my neck which was worrying enough for me to get checked out by my GP. I was hoping that he would give me peace of mind but instead he wanted to do a blood test to rule out leukaemia. My blood test came back and the doctor said it was fine and that there was nothing to worry about. (Although my WBC does appear to be higher than the range - results attached). However, in the time waiting for my results I learned that enlarged lymph nodes can be a sign of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin and that they wouldn't necessarily show up on a blood test in their early stages. I mentioned this to my doctor but he said that I was not showing any other symptoms (such as weight loss) and shouldn't worry. After persistence, he agreed to refer me to a haematologist but I may have to wait until after Christmas for the appointment depending on the waiting list. I would like your opinion on whether my lymph node is anything to be concerned about? It is in the right side (cervical) and my best guess is that it is about 1cm in length (and less than half of that in width). There is another palpable lymph node in my left side which is almost exactly symmetrical in position although it is much smaller (maybe 5mm or less). I first noticed them two weeks ago (although they may have been there for years and may not have noticed them as I have never checked). They are definitely not reducing in size although they don't seem to be getting any larger either. They are movable in the sense that if I push them, they will move under my finger (almost jumping to the other side of my finger). They are definitely not what I would describe as 'hard' or 'stony' - I'm not sure how to distinguish between 'rubbery' or 'soft' but they are either rubbery or soft depending on the definition. There is no tenderness and absolutely no pain. If someone else fells it I cannot tell. I have no other palpable lymph nodes in my groin or armpits. I have had no noticeable infections or viruses although I occasionally get acne specifically around the neck area and always have done since I was young. I would really like to know the likelihood of the lumps being anything serious? Thank you.
Posted Sun, 29 Dec 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Krishna Kiran Kannepalli 20 hours later
Brief Answer: As per your description, the nodes might be benign Detailed Answer: Hi. Thanks for the query. I have gone through the detailed account of your condition and as per your description, the node " sounds" benign. 2 weeks of waiting will not cause any harm. In my practice in India, I usually get an ultrasound of the neck done before proceeding to other tests as the description of the nodes on ultrasound is very informative. If possible, you can ask your GP to request for an ultrasound in the meantime. These small nodes many a time are non specific. Based on ultrasound findings a fine needle aspiration can be fine and sent for cytology.
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