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Head and Neck Cancer

Small Lymph Nodes

05/27/2010

Question:

I had a very small lymph node in the rt side of the neck (middle from the ear) for quite a long time may be years and I have also heard a doctor said that i have tiny node in the right arm pit 15 years ago and nothing to worry about. Recently I had rt neck pain, soreness and occasional ear pain. I noticed that I can feel 2 more nodes near to the original node in the neck. It`s visible very tiny only when i flex the neck to the left other wise no signs of swelling seen in normal position. I went to my family doctor who said to ignore it and his diagnosis was small discrete tender nodes in the right posterior cervical and right axillary region. He prescribed an anti dandruff shampoo (I have dandruff problem for years). I have a wisdom tooth to be extracted and an uncovered tooth by cap after Root Canal Therapy done last year. I have no fever, weight loss etc., I was diagnosed with otosclerosis and chronic mastoidities in my right ear and MVPS previously. I explained my fear of lymphoma or other problems to my doctor. But he ignores it saying its small and tender and nothing to worry about. What to do? Please guide me.

Answer:

Hi. Your physician is probably right. Everyone has nodes. They are meant to react to any insult to your body. So around the neck they will react to infections, trauma, dental issues, etc. We can find palpable nodes in most patients. Generally if they are tender the cause is inflammatory. The other factor is size and location. If they remain small, and only go up and down they are not of great concern. Try not to play with them. Continue to voice your concerns to your physician. If they grow in size recontact your physician or see an ear nose and throat doctor.

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Response by:

Pierre  Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS Pierre Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University