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Forum Name: Breast Cancer

Question: Enlarged lymph node


 willis - Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:57 pm

I am 39. Female. I have a lump the size of a walnut or larger on the right outer edge of my breast by my underarm. It hurts on and off. Its not hard. I noticed it about 3 years ago and it was small then and now it has gotten larger. I went for a mammogram and an ultrasound and the radiologist said that it was just an enlarged lymph node and not to worry about it. Because I was feeling real deep and it was enlarged because I probable had a hang nail or something. But, the lump is always there. It doesnt go away. Should I worry about it? Should a biopsy be done? Why is it enlarged? I have no other symptoms. I am not on any medications. Family history of high blood pressure only. I have no other problems other than an enlarged lymph node. Thank you for your time.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:29 pm

User avatar Hello,

The axillary lymph nodes are located in the axillae (arm pits). They drain the arm, thoracic wall, breast. Common causes of enlargement include infections, cat-scratch disease, lymphoma, breast cancer, silicone implants, brucellosis, melanoma.

Abnormal lymph node enlargement tends to commonly result from infection / immune response, cancer and less commonly due to infiltration of macrophages filled with metabolite deposits (eg, storage disorders).

Sometimes, following infection lymph nodes occasionally remain permanently enlarged, though they should be non-tender, small (less the 1 cm), have a rubbery consistency and none of the characteristics described for malignancy or for infection. These are also known as 'Shotty Lymph nodes'.

Ultrasound is a useful imaging modality in assessment of lymph nodes.

Best regards.

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